Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Anthony P. Russell

Second Advisor

Dr. Louis Schwartz

Third Advisor

Dr. Alan S. Loxterman


William Shakespeare reinvents the speaker of his Dark Lady sonnets as Antony of Antony and Cleopatra, with the former's hesitant appreciation of the benefits of a "lying," lustful relationship reconfigured into the latter's total embrace of an edifying, creative mutuality. This represents an important philosophical shift in Shakespeare's view of aesthetics: where in the Dark Lady sonnets, the speaker chastises himself for feeding his desire with lies and self delusions, Antony, his parallel, believes that the love he and his queen have created is somehow noble, even ideal. He rejects the "truth"- perhaps as the Romans would see it- in favor of an idealized love by way of an idealized self. This swing demonstrates a shift from poetry that strives only to represent some epideictic truth or fixed reality to that which extols the creation of the self as a supreme work of artifice, a malleable product shaped by will and belief.