Gabor M. Koltai’s essay is an excerpt from his book on the world view of Renaissance stage horror. Jacobean drama was sensitive to the changes taking place in the concepts that framed the audience’s everyday lives. The abolition of Catholic rituals had shaken confidence in familiar notions of marriage and the mourning of the dead, or in the certainty of what would happen to us after we die. John Webster’s theatre responded to these changes with dramaturgical and visual constructs similar to the Freudian notion of the ’Unheimlich’: religious ceremonies and sacraments are blurred on his stage as ghosts’ features in a horror film. Webster’s characters articulate doubts akin to the questions of Faustus and Don Juan. They regurgitate the emblems of their cultural past to fill the gaps in the fabric of death and salvation. The supernatural does not exist; it is only the work of their haunted imagination. In Calvin’s new universe, no one is safe from having their waking decisions lead to a nightmarish future.
How to cite:
Theatron 17, 2. sz. (2023): 44–56.
Cím/Title (ENG): Theological and Ritual Horror
Keywords: John Webster, the Uncanny, death in Jacobean drama, The White Devil, Doctor Faustus