An Exploration into the Representation of Female Death in Contemporary Performance of Shakespearean Tragedy

  • Mollie Wood

Student thesis: Master's Thesis


This thesis will explore the representation of female death in contemporary performance of Shakespearean tragedy, with particular attention paid to Blanche McIntyre’s directorial decisions in Titus Andronicus for the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in 2017. I will assess the symbolic, tropic representation of femininity through history, the aesthetic encoding of the female form in death, and psycho-sociological theories which determine humanity as indebted to this image. By noting the ways in which McIntyre represents Lavinia as the object of desire and site of tragedy, I will be at liberty to assess the patriarchal structure of narrative inherent in Shakespeare’s tragedies, as well as the progression of tropes which incline directors toward the beautiful aesthetics of tragic females’ deaths. Noting the ways in which Shakespeare’s plays were originally performed, I will be able to see the tendencies of contemporary performance toward heightening the aesthetic encoding of the female corpse.
Date of Award2023
Original languageEnglish

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