Class Year

2020

Access Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department or Program

Medieval and Renaissance Studies

First Advisor

Curtis Dozier

Second Advisor

Zoltan Markus

Abstract

This thesis offers an Aristotelian reading of Coriolanus, with the goal of assessing the viability of individual self-sufficiency. As political and moral treatises, Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics and Politics are valuable intertexts through which Shakespeare’s more imaginative work may be analyzed. I draw on representations of self-sufficiency in both texts in order to consider two larger questions: whether total isolation is practicable, or even possible; and, on the other side, whether social and political expression are ‘merely’ desirable parts of life, or rather necessary for survival. I explore Coriolanus’s dialectic of dependence and self-sufficiency through three recurring themes that appear in both texts: family, food and the body, and divinity.

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