Bretz 2012 Masculinity

Title Information

Author: Andrew Bretz

Title: Emergent Identity

Subtitle: Masculinity and the Representation of Rape on the Early Modern Stage, 1590-1620

Thesis: Ph.D. Thesis, University of Guelph

Year: August 2012

Pages: vii + 284pp.

OCLC Number: 809056674 – Find a Library: WorldCat

Language: English

Keywords: 16th Century, 17th Century | English History | Representations: Literature / John Fletcher, Thomas Heywood, John Marston, Thomas Middleton, William Shakespeare

Full Text

Link: The Atrium, University of Guelph Institutional Repository (Free Access)

Link: Library and Archives Canada (Free Access)

Additional Information

Author: Andrew Bretz, Department of English and Film Studies, Wilfrid Laurier

Abstract: »This thesis is an investigation of the representation of the figure of the man who raped on the early modern stage. The early modern “man who raped” must be distinguished from the modern term “rapist” insofar as the modern term ascribes an ontological or sociological position to the individual male that was alien to the early modern world view. The shifting value of “rape” in the early modern period presaged more modern conceptions of rape as “an experience imposed on an embodied subject, a violent sexual assault that in its corporal nature destabilizes the intersubjective personhood of the victim” (Cahill 207). As such, the shifting values of the term also prefigured more modern conceptions of masculinity and the successful performance of masculine values. The figure of the man who raped on the early modern English stage often was not merely the monster against which successful forms of masculine behaviour could be contrasted – often such characters found a sympathetic audience. And often, that audience was encouraged and directed through paratextual and dramaturgical devices to see themselves in and identify with the man who raped, for he could be redeemed. This thesis uses the lens of the Roman play to investigate sexual assault because Roman plays clarified masculine ideals for the early moderns; Rome, civilization, manliness, stoic self-control and virtus on the early modern stage were all coincident terms that articulated sexual difference and therefore the construction of the male subject (Kahn 15). The first section looks extensively at the English inheritance of Roman and Anglo-Saxon laws on sexual assault, while the subsequent chapters turn to early modern drama more closely. The plays under study are Marston’s Wonder of Women, Heywood’s Rape of Lucrece, Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus, Middleton’s Hengist, King of Kent, and Fletcher’s Bonduca.« (Source: Thesis)


  Abstract (p. ii)
  Dedication and Acknowledgements (p. iv)
  Introduction (p. 1)
    Defining Rape (p. 3)
    Identity and Identification (p. 7)
    London and Rome (p. 23)
    Why Theatre? (p. 25)
    Scholarship on Masculinity and Rape (p. 30)
  Chapter One: The Forms of Rape (p. 39)
    Rape, Whoredom and Honesty (p. 39)
      Stuprum and Raptus (p. 46)
    Whose Body Was It? (p. 56)
      Niedhæmed and Ut Álædan (p. 62)
      Reintroducing Raptus and Stuprum (p. 67)
      The Statutes of Westminster I and II (p. 72)
    Prosecutorial Failure (p. 77)
      Tudor Innovations (p. 80)
    The Law and the Word (p. 89)
  Chapter Two: Rape-Qua-Raptus in The Wonder of Women (p. 91)
    Masculine Obligations (p. 97)
    Self-Objectification (p. 103)
    Raptus to Stuprum (p. 118)
  Chapter Three: Rape-Qua-Stuprum: Heywood's The Rape of Lucrece (p. 121)
    Inheritance (p. 122)
    Why Does Valerius Sing? (p. 127)
    Singing Trauma (p. 137)
    Why is Lucrece Silent? (p. 144)
    Articulating Criticism (p. 159)
  Chapter Four: Two Cases of Marital Rape: Hengist: King of Kent and Titus Andronicus (p. 162)
    From Wedding to Divorce (p. 164)
    The Rapes of Lavinia (p. 174)
    Vortiger and Failure (p. 189)
    The Un-Rapable Subject (p. 207)
  Chapter Five: Roman Flesh and British Soul: Bonduca, Rape and Chivalric Masculine Identity (p. 210)
    Chivalric Ideals (p. 212)
    Rape, Civilization and Empire (p. 229)
    Sacrifice and Suicide (p. 233)
    Impossible Recovery (p. 249)
  Conclusion (p. 252)
  Appendix A (p. 259)
  Appendix B (p. 261)
  Works Cited (p. 265)

Wikipedia: John Fletcher (playwright): Bonduca; Thomas Heywood; John Marston (poet): The Wonder of Women; Thomas Middleton: Hengist, King of Kent; William Shakespeare: Titus Andronicus

Added: May 24, 2014 – Last updated: January 3, 2015