Temporal Instability, Wildernesses, and the Otherworld in Early Modern Drama

Edward B M Rendall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


This article shows how temporal disorder diffuses into the wildernesses within early modern English drama. Those areas beyond the walls of cities and castles in – among other plays – The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Titus Andronicus, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Romeo and Juliet, and Macbeth thus flit free from the temporal rules that construct play’s quotidian world, and the conspicuous partitions that enclose an otherworld in medieval iconography no longer seem clear within them. I argue that these spaces enact an unfamiliar and chaotic ‘otherworld’ within quotidian space, and characters’ ventures into these outer regions at certain points parallel movements into an ‘after-life’ elsewhere. A venture into these spaces, then, parallels a shift from one temporal sphere to another, and characters encounter a post-death state of being within the landscapes of a play’s present.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusSubmitted - 12 Oct 2022


  • purgatorial existence
  • woodland in early modern drama
  • supernatural
  • travel narratives


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