Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Degree Program

English

Department

English

Major Professor

Dr. Catherine Loomis

Second Advisor

Dr. Shelby Richardson

Third Advisor

Dr. Lisa Verner

Abstract

Since classical times, the witch has remained an eerie, powerful and foreboding figure in literature and drama. Often beautiful and alluring, like Circe, and just as often terrifying and aged, like Shakespeare’s Wyrd Sisters, the witch lives ever just outside the margins of polite society. In John Marston’s Sophonisba, or The Wonder of Women the witch’s ability to persuade through the use of language is Marston’s commentary on the power of poetry, theater and women’s speech in early modern Britain. Erichtho is the ultimate example of a terrifying woman who uses linguistic persuasion to change the course of nations. Throughout the play, the use of speech draws reader’s attention to the role of the mouth as an orifice of persuasion and to the power of speech. It is through Erichtho’s mouth that Marston truly highlights the power of subversive speech and the effects it has on its intended audience.

Rights

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 License.