The Politics of Rape in Shakespeare Adaptations of the Exclusion Crisis, 1678-82
Project responsable Emma Depledge
Abstract ‘The Politics of Rape in Shakespeare Adaptations of the Exclusion Crisis, 1678-82’ examines the way in which rape-plots were inserted into Shakespeare plays, adapting them in response to the Exclusion Crisis of 1678-82. By considering Exclusion Crisis adaptations of Shakespeare alongside contemporary political and religious documents, the thesis aims to explore the reasons why and how Shakespeare (the man and his plays) and the violent metaphor of rape were used to voice political rhetoric. The thesis equally aims to establish what these adaptations can tell us about Shakespeare’s authorial afterlife and about the position of women and attitudes to rape towards the end of the seventeenth century. Viewing the plays and their rape-plots as the violent assertion of patriarchal, predominantly royal, authority under threat, the thesis attempts to gain an insight into the rape-rhetoric’s impact on and implications for the lives of real women. Additionally, the thesis claims that the Exclusion Crisis, and the unique circumstances which prompted writers to use Shakespeare as a ‘Trojan horse’, depicting him as a patriotic father figure, ought to be seen as the most significant stage in Shakespeare’s authorial afterlife, with the rhetorical use of Shakespeare helping to fashion him into the ‘national poet’ and raise him to the unparalleled status which he enjoys today.
Keywords Shakespeare, Exclusion Crisis, Rape, Adaptation, Alteration, Politics
Type of project Fundamental research project
Research area German and English languages and literature
Method of financing Research commission University of Geneva: fellowships for prospective researchers
Status Completed
Start of project 1-7-2008
End of project 31-12-2008
Overall budget 23'000
Contact Emma Depledge