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Old 12-18-2015, 05:46 PM
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Mary Pat Campbell
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: NY
Studying for duolingo and coursera
Favorite beer: Murphy's Irish Stout
Posts: 88,107
Blog Entries: 6

okay, this is going to be fun:

Objectives To determine how often Shakespeare's characters faint, fit, or die from extreme emotion; to assess Shakespeare's uniqueness in this regard; and to examine the plausibility of these dramatised events.

Design Line by line search through modern editions of these late 16th and early 17th century works for accounts of characters fainting, fitting, or dying while under strong emotion and for no other apparent reason.

Data sources All 39 canonical plays by Shakespeare and his three long narrative poems; 18 similar works by seven of Shakespeare's best known contemporaries.

Results 10 deaths from strong emotion are recorded by Shakespeare (three occur on stage); all are due to grief, typically at the loss of a loved one. All but two of the deaths are in the playwright's late works. Some deaths are sudden. Another 29 emotion induced deaths are mentioned as possible, but the likelihood of some can be challenged. Transient loss of consciousness is staged or reported in 18 cases (sounding like epilepsy in two) and near fainting in a further 13. Extreme joy is sometimes depicted as a factor in these events. Emotional death and fainting also occur occasionally in works by Shakespeare's contemporaries.

Conclusions These dramatic phenomena are part of the early modern belief system but are also plausible by modern understanding of physiology and disease. They teach us not to underestimate the power of the emotions to disturb bodily functions.

I much prefer this data set

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