Discussions of early modern gender have been, until recently, focused on the construction and performance of femininities, yet it is significant to understand that the patriarchal institutions that prescribed acceptable forms of femininity also placed restrictions on appropriate masculinities. In Renaissance drama, a form which excluded female participants, we can see the conspicuous construction and portrayal of masculinity as a response to socially prescribed gender norms; the revenge play in particular demonstrates the precarious, liminal social position many Renaissance men experienced: simultaneously privileged above women and lower-ranking men and yet necessarily submissive to socio-political behavioral constraints. In four representative revenge plays, The Spanish Tragedy, Titus Andronicus, Hamlet, and The Revenger's Tragedy, the revengers' orthodox and radical responses to prescribed gender behaviors are apparent in turn as the revenger ascends to social favor by submitting to patriarchal rule, followed by an inevitable descent into illegality, madness, and graphic violence as he takes vengeance, or rebels against patriarchal standards. Though violence, cruelty, and emotional control are required for taking revenge, the revenger's gender performance is not limited to his stereotypically masculine aggression; rather, his familial, professional, and social roles, as well as his age contribute to a unique portrayal of masculinity. Likewise, the masculine characteristics demonstrated so frequently by revengers are not necessarily limited to male characters; female characters, though featured minimally in revenge plays, are equally capable of demonstrating agency, emotional manipulation, violence, or even bloodlust in order to incite or take vengeance. Close readings of these four texts and analysis of the contemporary cultural zeitgeist shed light on the perception, creation, and response to Renaissance masculinities.
|Commitee:||Bobo, Elizabeth, Wilson, Mary Ann|
|School:||University of Louisiana at Lafayette|
|School Location:||United States -- Louisiana|
|Source:||DAI-A 75/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Theater, British and Irish literature, Gender studies|
|Keywords:||Masculinities, Renaissance dramas, Revenge plays, Shakespeare|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be