AbstractsLanguage, Literature & Linguistics

Spenser's Colonialism and Shakespeare's Critique: The 'Irish Question' and The Nine Years War: In View of the Present State of Ireland, The Faerie Queen, and Troilus and Cressida

by Amy Dr Scott-Douglas

Institution: Marymount University
Year: 2016
Keywords: Irish studies; Spenser, Edmund, 1552?-1599 Shakespeare, William, 1564-1616 (Subject)
Posted: 02/05/2017
Record ID: 2107441
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/1961/graduatethesesandprojects:68


This thesis offers a reading of Spenser’s View of the Present State of Ireland and The Faerie Queene and Shakespeare’s Troilus and Cressida from the lens of postcolonial Irish studies. I examine the ways in which these works engage in literary conversation regarding imperialism, nationalism, and the righteousness of war. While Spenser advocates for the nobility of war, especially in the name of nation building, Shakespeare dismantles the notion of just war and shows all wars to be ultimately pointless. I consider the authors’ use of the trope of the Trojan War in their explorations of these issues; while Spenser locates the origin of England as a continuation of the city of Troy and establishes a translatio imperii (translation of empire), Shakespeare mocks the familiar characters and storylines in the Trojan War in order to call nationalism and violence for its sake into question. Central to my analysis is how each work incorporates the figure of Hugh O’Neill, the Irish rebel who almost led his forces to victory in the Nine Years War between England and Ireland. Both works contain references to historical figures and circumstances from the Nine Years War, especially Hugh O’Neill.