Banishment in Shakespeare's plays

Kingsley-Smith, Jane Elizabeth (1999). Banishment in Shakespeare's plays. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

PDF - Accepted Version

Download (5MB)


'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: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Humanities
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English Literature
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
P Language and Literature > PR English literature


Request a Correction Request a Correction
View Item View Item


Downloads per month over past year