Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Speaking themselves: Cross-dressing and gender performance in early modern comedies
by Tsamous, Melanie Elizabeth, M.A., California State University, Long Beach, 2009, 93; 1472249
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this thesis is to examine how women assert themselves in three early modern comedies: William Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, Ben Jonson's Epicoene, and Thomas Middleton and Thomas Dekker's The Roaring Girl.

The women in these comedies, within the freedom of the marketplace or a market-like setting, use cross-dressing, commodities, and exchange to gain power over men and to cross the boundaries their societies have established for them. They also engage in behaviors that set them apart from normative women in their society.

Women may gain and maintain power over the men in their society if they succeed in manipulating the gender hierarchy. The women portrayed in these plays do not share equal success. The extent to which they are able to assert themselves depends upon their self-esteem, their class, and their social aims.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Kermode, Lloyd
School: California State University, Long Beach
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 48/02M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Theater, British and Irish literature
Keywords: Dekker, Thomas, Jonson, Ben, Middleton, Thomas, Shakespeare, William
Publication Number: 1472249
ISBN: 978-1-109-47447-3
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