Deliver us from evil : essays on symbolic engagement in early drama


Deliver us from evil : essays on symbolic engagement in early drama


Medieval Studies

Document Type




The focus of this book is on the reality of evil for medieval and Renaissance dramatists and their audiences. What propels the work beyond similar critiques is the author's insistence that evil is not an outmoded feature of past societies, but an active ingredient of contemporary life. Davidson fast forwards from distant times once described as calamitous to a century of far more violence and atrocity - our own twentieth and its overflow. drama through Marlowe and Shakespeare, Davidson refers to contemporary events that scream for an adjective for which there is no better - evil. In passing, he faults the Nietzsche-Foucault line for contributing to the trivializing of evil in postmodern times. In a survey that ranges from Greek drama and the Church Fathers through De Sade, Dostoyevsky, Beckett, and Ingmar Bergman, Davidson drives to his conclusion that an important function of drama has always been to bring a realization of evil into our consciousness and indeed, through giving symbolic form to it, to make us feel its power as a demonic force in human lives.



Publication Date



AMS Press


New York


Medieval Studies

Citation for published book

Davidson, Clifford. Deliver Us from Evil: Essays on Symbolic Engagement in Early Drama. New York: AMS Press, 2004. Print.