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Banishment in Shakespeare's plays

Kingsley-Smith, Jane Elizabeth (1999)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Abstract

'Banished' - the word resounds in many Elizabethan and Jacobean plays, particularly in those of Shakespeare. This thesis examines the drama of banishment, that is, the sentence, lamentation, displacement, and metamorphosis of the exile in Romeo and Juliet, Richard II, Henry IV, As You Like It, King Lear, Coriolanus and The Tempest. To appreciate the rich and polysemous nature of 'banished' in Shakespeare's society I have considered a number of legal, historical and literary sources which reveal certain tropes of exile. The poet of Ovid's Tristia and Plato's Republic, the beast/god of Aristotle's Politics, the seventeenth-century colonialist, the Petrarchan lover, are all examples of the archetypes against which Shakespeare's banished characters fashion themselves. For banishment is a process of annihilation and of self-creation, and as such it raises various questions about identity in Shakespeare's plays. The possibility of its destruction and transformation reveals identity to be a fictional construct, based on ideology not inherent nature or right. This suggestion that the social distinctions between men are equally fictional gives a particular frisson to the juxtaposition of the exiled king and the naked beggar, to the transformation of greatness into barbarousness, that is so often staged on the Elizabethan and Jacobean stage through banishment.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Wells, Stanley W. (1930-)
School/Faculty:Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Humanities
Department:Department of English
Subjects:PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
PR English literature
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:4461
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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