Shakespeare's Influence on the English Gothic, 1791-1834: The Conflicts of Ideologies
AuthorWiley, Jennifer L.
AdvisorHogle, Jerrold E.
Committee ChairHogle, Jerrold E.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractShakespeare's Influence on the English Gothic, 1791-1834: The Conflicts of Ideologies examines why some of the most influential Gothic novels and playwrights of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries frequently alluded to Shakespeare. During a time of great conflict between changing views of religion, class systems, and gender roles, writers of the Gothic addressed these important issues by looking back to Shakespeare's treatment of the conflicted ideologies of his own time. This project begins by examining the links established between the horrors exposed in Horace Walpole's The Castle of Otranto and The Mysterious Mother and Shakespeare. Walpole's incorporation of unsettling scenes from Shakespeare sets the stage for other Gothic writers to allude to similar Shakespearean quandaries in their own works. The first chapter establishes what is "pre-Gothic" about some of the conflicted ideologies hinted at in Shakespeare's darkest plays. The second chapter explores how Ann Radcliffe and Matthew Gregory Lewis incorporate Shakespearean epigraphs, quotations, and allusions into their own works to confront terrors of the 1790s. The third chapter reveals how P. B. Shelley, in his Zastrozzi, St. Irvyne, and The Cenci responds to worrying questions originally raised Shakespeare. Chapter four focuses on the Romantic era's most renowned female playwright, Joanna Baillie, and her use of Shakespeare to hint at the treatment to which women are still subject in England during her own time. Finally, this study concludes with a brief look at how the threatening implications of the Gothic continue to revisit the dramas of Shakespeare through major works of Gothic fiction from the past 200 years including Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre, Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire, and Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. Though the threats of the past might have changed, Shakespeare still plays an important role in speaking to the unresolved ideological conflicts that still haunt the consciousness of Western civilization.
Degree ProgramGraduate College