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Title: Male poisoners in Renaissance revenge tragedies
Author: McDonnell, Sharon Frances Irene
ISNI:       0000 0004 6062 8297
Awarding Body: Sheffield Hallam University
Current Institution: Sheffield Hallam University
Date of Award: 2016
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Poisonings are the staple of revenge tragedies of the late Elizabethan and Jacobean periods, and contrary to a common perception that poison is a female weapon, male characters are often portrayed as the main perpetrators. I argue in this thesis that the plays discussed show a distinct type of male poisoner who employs poison as a weapon in a way that effeminises and emasculates them. I shall explore the character traits of this distinct male poisoner in six revenge tragedies: Hamlet, The Tragedy of Hoffman, The Revenger's Tragedy, The Tragedy of Claudius Tiberius Nero, The Second Maiden's Tragedy, and Albovine, King Of The Lombards. I will attempt to demonstrate that there are two categories of male poisoner: one is the heterosexual male who poisons others because of ambition, lust, or revenge (for example, the Duke in The Revenger's Tragedy or Claudius in Hamlet); the other is the distinct male poisoner who acts in ways more associated with females than with males; and it is these characters that I focus on in this thesis. These distinct male poisoners are not just represented as effeminate, but are shown forming close homoerotic relationships with other males through their language and actions; in effect, these male poisoners take on the subordinate role of the female within these relationships. My contribution to knowledge is to bring attention to this distinct type of male poisoner and demonstrate that, while not all male poisoners are presented as identical to each other, all these insidious characters have deficient manhoods that are empowered by poison.
Supervisor: Hopkins, Lisa Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available