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Document Description
Title"Royal wench" : investigating gender and power in the Antony and Cleopatra plays of the English Renaissance
AuthorHann, Yvonne D., 1968-
DescriptionThesis (Ph. D.)--Memorial University of Newfoundland, 2010. English Language and Literature
Pagination114 leaves : graphs, maps
SubjectCleopatra, Queen of Egypt, d. 30 B.C.--In literature; Antonius, Marcus, 83?-30 B.C.--In literature; English drama--17th century--Political aspects; English drama--Early modern and Elizabethan, 1500-1600--Political aspects; Sex role in literature;
DegreePh. D.
Degree GrantorMemorial University of Newfoundland. Dept. of English Language and Literature
DisciplineEnglish Language and Literature
NotesIncludes bibliographical references (leaves 418-433)
AbstractIn 1592, Mary Sidney Herbert, the Countess of Pembroke, published her dramatic version of the Antony and Cleopatra story, Antonius. In fairly quick succession, Samuel Daniel and Samuel Brandon published their own versions, The Tragédie of Cleopatra (1594) and The Tragicomeodi of the Vertuous Octavia (1598), of the ancient and tragic tale of love and politics. This study is an investigation into how these particular plays, using the same source story, illustrate the complex issues of gender and power in early modern England. In particular, I focus on how each writer's construction of the figures of Cleopatra and Antony illuminates how Renaissance cultural constructions of gender and power were made even more complex with the presence of Elizabeth I on the throne. Pembroke's Antonius seeks to subvert the cultural definitions of gender and power. Daniel uses his play to undermine the subversion of gender roles that Pembroke presents by returning to the figures of Antony and Cleopatra the traits with which they were invested in early modern culture. Brandon also resists the alternate reading of gender and power found in Antonius by presenting a positive vision of female power, Octavia, who reasserts the cultural definitions of gender and power. Brandon also explores more intensely the issues of power itself; that is, he moves from issues of gender and power to the issue of a ruler as a private and public person regardless of gender. My study also examines how changes in the power structure affect the use of the Antony and Cleopatra story. William Shakespeare's Anthony and Cleopatra (1606-1608) and Thomas May's The Tragedy of Cleopatra: Queen of Aegypt (1626), and John Dryden's All For Love (1678), all written after the death of Elizabeth I, reveal that the ancient source story continued to be a relevant text for political investigation regardless of the gender of the monarch. By examining the ways in which these plays interact with the cultural constructions of gender and power and how they interact with each other, this study illustrates the complex relationship of literature and culture as well as literature with literature.
Resource TypeElectronic thesis or dissertation
FormatImage/jpeg; Application/pdf
SourcePaper copy kept in the Centre for Newfoundland Studies, Memorial University Libraries
RightsThe author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
CollectionElectronic Theses and Dissertations
Scanning StatusCompleted
PDF File(49.43 MB) --
CONTENTdm file name156737.cpd