Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Arts

Program

Comparative Literature

Supervisor

Laurence De Looze

Abstract

The Odyssey and the Arthurian Vulgate each integrate various traditional sources with various takes on gender into themselves as well as comment directly on the topic. The Odyssey prioritizes forming both cooperative and competitive equality between male and female characters and their distinctly masculine and feminine uses of language. The Arthurian Vulgate prioritizes forming a status hierarchy with masculinity higher than femininity and correspondences between the gender binary and other binaries, although it also transmits stories with embedded contradictory messages. Both texts also tell a false queen story, which comments on the possibility of a disconnect between a sign and its signified and what each values in a female character enough to make her internally consistent by splitting one complex character into two simple ones.


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