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From maiden to whore and back again

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Material Information

Title:
From maiden to whore and back again a survey of prostitution in the works of William Shakespeare
Physical Description:
Book
Language:
English
Creator:
Lowden Messerschmidt, Tiffany
Publisher:
University of South Florida
Place of Publication:
Tampa, Fla
Publication Date:

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Prostitutes
Early modern England
Early modern drama
Anti-theatrical prejudice
Theater history
Dissertations, Academic -- English -- Masters -- USF   ( lcsh )
Genre:
non-fiction   ( marcgt )

Notes

Abstract:
ABSTRACT: The works of William Shakespeare reflect the society in which he lived, and they can therefore be studied for the light they shed upon certain aspects of this society that may otherwise have been ignored or misrepresented by other surviving documents. This is especially true of prostitution. Women in this shifting English society were marginalized, and the prostitute occupied an especially precarious place since her profession identified her as an outsider, legally and morally. Surviving historical documents address the legality or morality of this institution, but fail to reveal how it was perceived by society as a whole. Shakespeare receives much praise for his keen observations of human behavior, so his plays can be seen as a type of historical document themselves. I am interested in how the characters of prostitutes function in his oeuvre and whether they uphold or subvert the attitudes implied by the other existing documents and scholarship on the topic.
Thesis:
Thesis (M.A.)--University of South Florida, 2009.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references.
System Details:
Mode of access: World Wide Web.
System Details:
System requirements: World Wide Web browser and PDF reader.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Tiffany Lowden Messerschmidt.
General Note:
Title from PDF of title page.
General Note:
Document formatted into pages; contains 62 pages.

Record Information

Source Institution:
University of South Florida Library
Holding Location:
University of South Florida
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
aleph - 002029100
oclc - 436869836
usfldc doi - E14-SFE0002886
usfldc handle - e14.2886
System ID:
SFS0027203:00001


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Full Text

PAGE 2

Acknowledgements I would like to acknowledge the members of my thesis committee: Dr. Sara Munson Deats, Dr. Lagretta Tallent Lenker, and Dr. Joyce Karpay for all of their support, understanding, and feedback. I would like to especially thank Dr. Deats, my committee chair, for her encouragement and suggestions. Both my enthusiasm and the idea for this thesis arose in Dr. Deat’s Shakespeare’s Comedies course, so I owe her a debt of gratitude. Finally, I would like to acknowledge my family for their unwavering support of my academic endeavors over these last few y ears. I know that without you, none of my dreams would have come true. January 2009

PAGE 3

i Table of Contents Abstract Chapter One 1 Introduction 1 Chapter Two 8 Historical Background 8 Chapter Three 16 Critical Survey 16 Chapter Four 23 The Plays 23 The Comedies 23 The Histories 33 The Tragedies 41 The Romances 50 Chapter Five Conclusion 55 Bibliography 57

PAGE 4

ii From Maiden To Whore and Back Again: A Survey of Prostitution In the Works of William Shakespeare Tiffany Lowden ABSTRACT The works of William Shakespeare reflect the society in which he lived, and they can therefore be studied for the light they sh ed upon certain aspects of this society that may otherwise have been ignored or misrepre sented by other surviving documents. This is especially true of prostitution. Women in this shifting English society were marginalized, and the prostitute occupied an especially precarious place since her profession identified her as an outsider, legally and morally. Surviving historical documents address the legality or morality of this instituti on, but fail to reveal how it was perceived by society as a whole. Shakes peare receives much praise for his keen observations of human behavior, so his plays can be seen as a type of historical document themselves. I am interested in how the charac ters of prostitutes function in his oeuvre and whether they uphold or subvert the attitudes implied by the other existing documents and scholarship on the topic.


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ABSTRACT: The works of William Shakespeare reflect the society in which he lived, and they can therefore be studied for the light they shed upon certain aspects of this society that may otherwise have been ignored or misrepresented by other surviving documents. This is especially true of prostitution. Women in this shifting English society were marginalized, and the prostitute occupied an especially precarious place since her profession identified her as an outsider, legally and morally. Surviving historical documents address the legality or morality of this institution, but fail to reveal how it was perceived by society as a whole. Shakespeare receives much praise for his keen observations of human behavior, so his plays can be seen as a type of historical document themselves. I am interested in how the characters of prostitutes function in his oeuvre and whether they uphold or subvert the attitudes implied by the other existing documents and scholarship on the topic.
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Anti-theatrical prejudice
Theater history
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