Date of Award

Summer 8-1-2019

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Edward Christie

Second Advisor

Jay Rajiva

Third Advisor

Paul Schmidt

Abstract

This thesis examines the literary tapestry of trauma wound within representations of femininity throughout the Arthuriad. In many of the legendary Arthurian narratives, women are marginalized, cast as pawns and scapegoats, or erased from the mythology entirely. Although scholarship has done much to uncover and improve the legacy, values, and standing of these characters, particularly through the lens of feminist analyses, the troubling reputation they maintain within past and modern primary texts has yet to be explored. I argue that the adaptations and transformations of a specific feminine voice from across periods and forms within the tradition creates a long-standing traumatic space which echoes, extends, and re-orients the myth. By focusing on Morgan le Fay, I demonstrate how her various representations and manifestations form a collection of traumas which persist through the character’s narrative progression, ultimately hindering her struggle to attain autonomy, and thereby illuminating the myth’s problematic continuities.

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