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Trying Out the Wheelchair The Prosthetic Political Body in Shakespeare's Early History Plays

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Description: This thesis examines the thematic expression of unnatural sovereignty in Shakespeare's early history plays--primarily 3 Henry VI and Richard III --through characters' bodily agency. Looking at how modes of action reflect and shape character perception, and how these perceptions are represented through the plays' dramaturgical effects, this project proposes a model of early modern selfhood that unifies the disparate paradigms of self-fashioning and self-shattering dominant in early modern studies. Richard III embodies this paradoxical model of self through what I describe as his prosthetic mode of action: the way Richard's crippled body distributes action through other characters who simultaneously collaborate in shaping his perceived internal coherence. Recent studies of identity formation described through the "trying out period" of a person's wheelchair, I suggest, reflect the activity of the self-assimilating subject offered in Richard III, activity which early modern expressions of self perceive as disparate and incommensurable.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work