Article Title

Machines for the Suppression of Time: Statues in Suor Angelica, The Winter's Tale, and Alcestis


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

This essay examines the dramatic presentation of three stories based on a pattern of error, repentance, death, and resurrection: Puccini's one-act opera Suor Angelica, Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, and Euripides' Alcestis. More specifically, it examines how those dramas employ the motif of the statue-come-to-life which drives their final scenes. In The Winter's Tale, the supposedly dead woman is returned to her husband by pretending to be a statue that is magically animated. In Alcestis, a promise to make a statue is called to mind as Alcestis returns from the grave to Admetus. At the end of Suor Angelica the Virgin Mary appears in a miracle-the libretto does not call for an animated statue of the Virgin, but that is one way the miracle has been staged-taking an idea from popular religion and thus connecting the miracle with an established stage object.1 I will be maintaining the aptness of that method of production for Suor Angelica, both historically and thematically, and then use the discussion of the opera as a basis for analysis of the other two plays. The intent is not to demonstrate a historical connection between these dramas (though one may exist between Shakespeare and Euripides2), but rather to use the common motif as a way for the plays to comment on one another.

Comparative Drama is carried by JSTOR and Project MUSE.