Plague like Cats

Plague like Cats Although many scholars have acknowledged the dark thread interwoven into William Baldwin’s playful narrative Beware the Cat , they have largely ignored the role of plague in heightening the work’s sense of impending danger. Baldwin intensifies our sense of peril by including at every level of his narrative references to plague. In Beware the Cat , contagious disease symbolically melds with other kinds of divine punishment. These include bestial transformations, farcical exposure, and painful afflictions, especially the startling appearances of and painful biting, scratching, strangling, and suffocation by cats. All are ways that God punishes his creatures for their abominations. Baldwin’s emphasis on plague as God’s vengeance for sin becomes one of the cats’ most significant meanings and a key to our understanding of the protagonist Gregory Streamer’s strange quest. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Explorations in Renaissance Culture Brill

Plague like Cats

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2015 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
Subject
Articles
ISSN
0098-2474
eISSN
2352-6963
D.O.I.
10.1163/23526963-04101001
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Although many scholars have acknowledged the dark thread interwoven into William Baldwin’s playful narrative Beware the Cat , they have largely ignored the role of plague in heightening the work’s sense of impending danger. Baldwin intensifies our sense of peril by including at every level of his narrative references to plague. In Beware the Cat , contagious disease symbolically melds with other kinds of divine punishment. These include bestial transformations, farcical exposure, and painful afflictions, especially the startling appearances of and painful biting, scratching, strangling, and suffocation by cats. All are ways that God punishes his creatures for their abominations. Baldwin’s emphasis on plague as God’s vengeance for sin becomes one of the cats’ most significant meanings and a key to our understanding of the protagonist Gregory Streamer’s strange quest.

Journal

Explorations in Renaissance CultureBrill

Published: Mar 16, 2015

Keywords: Baldwin; plague; Reformation; satire; witchcraft; cat; folklore; Beware the Cat

References

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