Speech, silence, and Shakespearean quotation in The Sounding (2017)
Reid, Lindsay Ann
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Reid, Lindsay Ann. (2020). Speech, Silence, and Shakespearean Quotation in The Sounding (2017). Shakespeare, 16(1), 80-89. doi: 10.1080/17450918.2019.1659393
This article examines Catherine Eaton s The Sounding (2017). It uses the polarised critical interpretations that have emerged in response to Isabella s wordlessness in Act 5 of Shakespeare s Measure for Measure as a useful set of lenses for considering the non-normative communication strategies employed by Liv, the female protagonist in this cinematic adaptation of The Tempest. Orphaned as a child, the thirty-something Liv has been brought up in relative isolation on an island off the coast of Maine by her doting (and overtly Prospero-like) grandfather Lionel, a retired psychiatric professional. Though well-read, quick-witted, and the cultural beneficiary of her grandfather s careful tutelage, from childhood, Liv has not spoken. When she finally breaks her long years of verbal silence on foot of Lionel s death partway through the film, Liv s output proves to be exclusively limited to Shakespearean quotations much to the consternation of her emergent love interest Dr. Michael Lande. Focusing on the gender politics of silence, quotation, audibility, and canonicity in Eaton s film, the article queries, in turn, whether Liv s storyline in The Sounding is best understood as a tale of linguistic resistance and empowerment or as one of inarticulacy and patriarchal domination.