|About the Book|
This dissertation examines the importance of female friendship alliances in Shakespeares plays and how such alliances affect those engaged in them as well as the community around them. Their value to individuals and to the broader community isMoreThis dissertation examines the importance of female friendship alliances in Shakespeares plays and how such alliances affect those engaged in them as well as the community around them. Their value to individuals and to the broader community is demonstrated both by the presence of supportive interrelationships and by their absence. Focusing on A Comedy of Errors, The Winters Tale, Merry Wives of Windsor, Much Ado About Nothing, As You Like It, Antony and Cleopatra, Hamlet, Othello and Macbeth , I seek to reread and reappropriate Shakespeare as a proponent of womens affiliative groups and communities of women. In these plays, positive female alliances have an affirmative effect on the community around them- negative female alliances or females isolated from female friends or supportive female family structures, do not fare well, nor does their immediate community. My methodology is both feminist, in which I rely on the recent critical theories of Phyllis Rackin, among others, and psychological using the insights of Shelley Taylor and her research on the overall health insured by female friendships. While much recent literary criticism of Shakespeare has been relatively silent on Shakespeares privileging of women in community, contemporary directors of Shakespeares plays have not. I will therefore examine some of the ways that modern productions of Shakespeare have brought these elements of Shakespeares work to the forefront as well as, in some cases, offering suggestions for bringing these issues to life on the stage.