Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Comparative Literature


Prof. Paul Coates


This thesis is a comparative study of Roman Polanski 1976 pyschological thriller The Tenant and Max Frisch’s 1954 novel Stiller. It explores the multi-layered and multivalent nature of the director’s film and the author’s novel by analyzing them through various theoretical lenses. While focusing on the (re)construction and destruction of the protagonists’ identities, it unfolds the multiple levels of meaning pertinent to various literary and cinematic motifs, including the double, suicide, projection, and fiction making. The first chapter explores the dynamics of the conflict between the societal and personal identities of the protagonists. The second chapter highlights the defense mechanisms- i.e. doubling and projection- the protagonists adopt against the external assaults on their personal identities. The third chapter elaborates on the failure of the defense mechanisms and the ambiguities of the protagonists’ final states.