Thesis Title

Mis/Reading the Hero: a Case For Aaron in Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus

Author

Bill Clem

Date of Graduation

Summer 1998

Degree

Master of Arts in English

Department

English

Committee Chair

Mary Baumlin

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature

Abstract

Traditionally, Shakespearean scholars have interpreted Aaron the Moor in Titus Andronicus as the play's villain. These scholars have held to the notion that as the villain, Aaron is evil incarnate and embodies all that countermands the order of the Roman patriarchy. I assert that these scholars have failed to consider the implications of the play's "hyper-racialized" state upon those who are deemed "other"-specifically Aaron, whose skin is black. In this thesis, I will illustrate that Michael Foucault's theories of historicism create for contemporary scholars new methods with which to interrogate the discourses of "race" and to offer fresh understandings of Aaron's subject position in the play. Futhermore, utilizing Jacques Derrida's notion of "play" and M.M. Bakhtin's configurations of heroes in polyphonic texts, I will "mis/read" the play to prove that Aaron is the hero of this earliest Shakespearean tragedy.

Copyright

© Bill Clem

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Dissertation/Thesis

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