Date of Submission

Spring 2017

Academic Programs and Concentrations


Project Advisor 1

Adhaar Desai

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Senior Project submitted to The Division of Languages and Literature of Bard College.

This project is an analysis of three Shakespeare plays through three different ways of understanding shame. Othello, Coriolanus, and Measure for Measure are inspected through a social, bodily, and religious understanding of shame, respectively. The purpose of this tripartite view of shame is to reveal the many different ways in which shame makes itself a part of our lives. The first paradigm is based off of Erving Goffman’s 1956 sociology text, The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life, and explores how the ways social expectations create roles for each of us, and the shame that arises when we fail to perform those roles. The second, drawing from Gail Kern Paster’s The Body Embarrassed, examines how our body not being wholly under our control brings us shame even if we don’t care about the roles established by Goffman. The third looks into what happens when neither of those conceptions of shame are true, and we live in a seemingly shameless society. If nothing matters, why would we still feel shame? This all coalesces into a view of shame in Shakespeare, and how shame is a more complex and powerful force than it may seem at first blush.

Open Access Agreement

Open Access

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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