Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Joshua Phillips

Committee Member

Catherine Martin

Committee Member

Cristina Cervone

Committee Member

Theron Britt


Abstract Examining four Shakespeare plays for moments of hospitality and inhospitality, the question must be asked, “Is hosting and guesting necessary to maintain strong community?” In this exploration, hospitality is examined in four of Shakespeare’s plays, tracing its effects on the communities within those plays, showing that without hospitable performance, community falters and may eventually break apart. Such exploration of what goes well and not so well with hospitality offers a wealth of insight into cultural studies. Specific characters from these four plays are crucial to this study, as they provide concrete examples of human interactions gone awry and then resolved, allowing us to examine them for ways in which patterns of power and greed, control and paranoia, affect communities. Three comedies and a romance have been specifically chosen, since hospitality in the tragedies has been thoroughly explored (Macbeth, Lear, Coriolanus, Titus Andronicus, and Julius Caesar for example). Shakespeare’s characters show us how to live without preaching rules or religion. By living a performance for the other characters in the community of the play, readers and audiences can see the strengthening or weakening of a particular community. Hospitable performance either helps community, harms community, or harms one in service of another. In its own way, each play hosts another culture, and is both hospitable and inhospitable to it—which is fascinating in the way that characters in each play, specifically the three set in Italy, perform another culture, while hosting it at the same time. A reliance on the reader’s imagination, and not those of an audience, is assumed throughout, although audiences are considered as well. These plays were written to be performed, but it would be impossible an undertaking to imagine all the directorial and performative choices. Interestingly, it is always for an audience that hospitality shows itself useful: in every hosted performance, the guest is a kind of audience, and the audience a guest.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open Access