“Our great captain’s captain”: Shakespeare’s military spouses and the war on terror

Ridge, Kelsey (2019). “Our great captain’s captain”: Shakespeare’s military spouses and the war on terror. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis examines the military spouses in Shakespeare’s Othello, 1 Henry IV, Julius Caesar, Troilus and Cressida, Macbeth, and Coriolanus through a post-9/11 presentist and feminist critical framework. Its aim is to understand what these plays have to say about the role of military families and cultural constructions of masculinity within the plays and within modern culture. It also highlights modern issues relevant to military families, such as domestic violence, PTSD, infertility, war crimes, the treatment of queer servicemembers, and the civil-military divide. To situate these plays in an American War on Terror context, this research relies on memoirs written by modern day military spouses and Department of Defense issuances and reports. It underlines its arguments using close reading and performance history, including statements by artists. This thesis argues that these characters are vital to understanding the plays, and by understanding these plays we can better understand issues still present in our culture and military. Read together across the plays, Shakespeare’s military spouses create a discourse that recognizes the role of military culture in national defense but criticizes components of the hegemonic masculinity, promoting the idea of a martial identity that permits military defense without the dangers of toxic masculinity.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: Shakespeare Institute
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/9616


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