Maternal agency in renaissance revenge tragedy

SETTLE, Chloe (2019). Maternal agency in renaissance revenge tragedy. Masters, Sheffield Hallam University.

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This thesis offers a feminist inflected, historicised close reading of the Renaissance revenge tragedies Titus Andronicus, The Duchess of Malfi and ‘Tis Pity she’s a Whore. It specifically examines constructs of maternity found in a variety of medical, theological, dietary and conduct texts from the early modern period. Additionally, this thesis establishes close links between the representations of the maternal body on the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage and in the early modern settings of the anatomy theatre and the birth chamber. The period reflects the specific belief that consumption is important to demonstrate virtue and religious morality. This thesis will engage with this topic by focussing attention on the significance of fruit and consumption within the dramas and how the maternal body is closely interlinked with the digestive system. By engaging with the premise of the anatomy theatre, birth chamber and early modern literature surrounding maternity, this thesis shows that maternity in revenge drama is purposefully portrayed as transgressive, to successfully condemn maternal characters and validate the violence that is enacted on their bodies. Overall, the thesis undertakes an extensive analysis of the impact of the maternal body on the stage, as influenced by early modern literature and in ritualistic early modern environments. Both physically and textually, maternity is characterised by its performativity in this period, which is recognised and adapted in this study.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Thesis advisor - Cadman, Daniel [0000-0002-5732-0131]
Additional Information: Director of studies: Daniel Cadman
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2020 11:55
Last Modified: 11 Aug 2023 14:58

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