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Title: Shakespearean polyphony : an exploration of female voices in seven selected plays using a dialogical framework
Author: Intezar, H.
Awarding Body: University of Bradford
Current Institution: University of Bradford
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis employs the concept of 'voice' in order to explore the variety of dialogic relationships between men and women in seven Shakespeare plays. Here, 'voice' is defined as an ideological position held by a character and voices within a dialogical relationship test dominant social ideas. In doing so, the aim is to explore how employing a linguistic approach allows us to develop a more nuanced perspective towards women and female voices in Shakespeare. Taking the early modern tradition of an all-male-cast into consideration, this project acknowledges the tension between the idea of embodiment and voice; however, it argues that even though there is no biological female body of the Shakespearean stage, there is a female voice. Dialogism, of course, derives from the work of the Russian theorist Mikhail Bakhtin. These 'voices' are analysed in the context of a theoretical framework informed by his writings on the novel, which are also increasingly being used to make sense of drama in line with Bakhtin's own awareness of a nascent dialogism in Shakespearean drama. 'Polyphony', in particular, assumes a separation between the author's and the characters' points of view. Thus, this project considers Shakespeare's texts as dialogic and his plays as a dialogue of voices, in which the characters have the capacity to hold dialogical relationships where no voice holds more importance than any other. This is significant because these conflicting voices are what make the Shakespearean text different from those in which a single voice is heard - that of the author, for example. As this study talks about an oppressive authoritative/patriarchal language, a dialogic approach unlocks the languages of the others which it tries to marginalise and silence. The research reveals a complex relationship between space, time and voice. More precisely, the carnivalesque becomes visible in Shakespeare's use of innovative discursive devices, such as 'active parody', 'Menippean dialogue' and 'Socratic dialogue', which suggests a multi-toned and ambiguous female voice; a voice that has the capacity to covertly and overtly oppose and challenge social ideologies surrounding gender. The thesis offers new perspectives on the presentation of women and speech. Importantly, it offers a more sophisticated and complex Bakhtinian framework for looking at carnival in Shakespeare. Additionally, a linguistic model of analysis also develops current scholarly use of Bakhtin's concept of carnival. Rather than viewing carnival as simply a time-space of betwixt and between, this project looks at carnival in the context of language (the carnivalesque). More specifically, it reveals how Shakespeare's female figures find pockets of carnivalesque space in everyday existence through dialogue. Thus, suggesting that emancipation is not limited to an allocated time or space, rather, it can also be achieved through language.
Supervisor: Knowles, James; Smith, Kenneth; Sullivan, Paul W. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Shakespeare ; Bakhtin ; Polyphony ; Carnival ; Voices ; Women