Date of Award

4-21-2009

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

First Advisor

Dr. Matthew Roudane - Chair

Second Advisor

Dr. Pearl McHaney

Third Advisor

Dr. Wayne Erickson

Abstract

Most books written about American drama concern definitions of masculinity, the American dream, and the family in a society that encourages people to surpass their competences and limits. American playwrights of the twentieth century reveal the anxiety and insecurity of men who do not rise up to the standards of the American dream. In concentrating on these themes, most critics have analyzed the main characters and plots but have left aside hints about other myths. This study aims to analyse the extended use of the cowboy, of salesman, and of pirate in Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie and Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. The recurrence of these three myths touches on the core of American drama that playwrights and critics have tried to define endlessly: the definition of the male in the American society.

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