Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name


Degree Program




Major Professor

Loomis, Catherine

Second Advisor

Krantz, Susan

Third Advisor

Doll, Daniel


Ecocriticism explores the way in which artists interact with, interpret and represent the natural world. The concept of “nature,” according to ecocriticism, goes beyond simply flora and fauna, extending to human nature as well. In Shakespeare's England, a person's nature was determined by his bodily humors, so the melancholy humor particularly lends itself to an ecocritical approach because it is inextricably linked to the natural world. Transcending genre, melancholy is not limited to the green world of comedy but rather appears in tragedy as well. In As You Like It, the melancholy Jaques offers a foil for the forest teeming with sanguine lovers. In Hamlet, however, melancholy becomes a much more bleak and ambiguous quality, raising questions concerning the nature of acting and suicide. In the study of melancholy within As You Like It and Hamlet, an ecocritical perspective offers a unique insight into the way Shakespeare experiences and interacts with the natural world.


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