Date of Award

8-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Major

English

Major Professor

Misty Anderson

Committee Members

Jenn Fishman, John Zomchick

Abstract

This thesis examines how John Gay portrays constructions of masculinity in domestic spaces—the households, estates, and royal courts—of three plays: Three Hours After Marriage,Polly, and Achilles. Gay illuminates how constructions of masculinity are ultimately linked to an emergent sex/gender system based upon shifting ideas of masculine authority and patriarchal right in the eighteenth century. Ultimately, Gay‟s drama reveals the concept of a “natural” sex to be little more than a cultural construction. He criticizes the often artificial nature of masculinity, and posits that a masculine gender identity becomes linked to power over the supposedly “natural,” feminine space of the domestic.

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