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Title: The representation of female speech in Shakespeare's late plays
Authors: Ruenbanthoeng, Thongrob
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: This thesis explores the representation of female speech in Shakespeare’s late plays. The critics seem to group Pericles, Cymbeline, The Winter’s Tale and The Tempest together as “romances” because common elements and recurrent motifs in these four plays. The story of family and of parents and children, especially the father/daughter relationship, seem to be keywords for critics when grouping these four plays together. Moreover, the daughters in these plays play the most important roles in redeeming and restoring the male characters. For several critics, Shakespeare’s romances are the plays where daughters become redeemers and restorers, but none of them explain how they do that. This thesis will closely examine female redemptive language in Shakespeare’s four romances and argue that through the use of their language, the female characters in those plays are able to restore and redeem the male characters. The female speech in Shakespeare’s four romances is redemptive, restorative, healing and forgiving while the female redemptive language becomes rhetorical resistance in the other last two plays, King Henry VIII and The Two Noble Kinsmen, which were written in collaboration with John Fletcher. All virtuous female characters in the first four plays exercised their rhetorical ability in redeeming the male characters from illness, suffering, sorrow, vengeance and futility. Their speech has therapeutic, restorative and redemptive power. However, in the last two plays, female speech is rebellious. Redemption is not the main concern of the two last plays. The female speech in King Henry VIII and The Two Noble Kinsmen focuses on how to use female rhetorical strategies to persuade, negotiate or challenge patriarchal authority without being condemned or punished. The thesis will conclude that Shakespeare’s late plays are the best places to investigate the complication of female rhetoric, female rhetorical strategies, the representation of female speech and controversial Renaissance rhetorical tradition.
Description: Ph. D Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics

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