Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
This thesis begins by examining the ways in which Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis anticipates its own criticism. For insofar as the critical history of Venus and Adonis attempts to enclose or explain "what" the poem means, rather than "how" the poem means, it tends to repeat the dramatic and lexical motions of the poem itself By exploring the most pronounced discrepancies in the critical discussion around the poem, I show that interpretations of Shakespeare's epyllion which strive to locate a definitive center for the text--be it allegorical, psychological, or historical...tend to reveal the ways in which a reader's desire inhabits the text. Indeed, the poem's lack of a satisfying resolution has led a number of critics to ascribe a sense of closure for the poem's conclusion, just as its representation of ambiguous and aggressive female sexuality has lead to a series of incomplete readings, which repeat the actions of poem. The second section of the thesis then attempts to explain "how" the poem's structure imagery, and intertexuality evoke a sense of frustration in its readers. The poem's structure, I argue, is base. on a series of repeated patterns that moves from pursuit and opposition to ostensible but unrealized union. Although the poem's imagery and narrative structure appears to move towards a moment of synthesis in which Venus and Adonis unite, the poem never actually reaches such a point. The narrative an imagistic structure of Shakespeare's epyllion thus tantalizes the reader's hope for resolution, without ever fulfilling such a desire.
Kuchar, Gary, "liTo Clip Elysium": Desire, Structure, and the Meaning of Misprision in Shakespeare's Venus and Adonis." (1998). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 7569.
McMaster University Library