“Search This Ulcer Soundly”: Sex as Contagion in The Changeling and Othello

  • Emily WeissbourdEmail author
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Literature, Science and Medicine book series (PLSM)


Weissbourd offers a reading of the relationship between representation of female sexuality as polluting and anxieties about miscegenation in Shakespeare’s Othello and Middleton and Rowley’s The Changeling. Drawing on Judith Butler’s analysis of the relationships among kinship theory, the traffic in women, and fantasies of homogenous national identity, Weissbourd ultimately argues that both Othello and The Changeling do not only represent class- and race-transgressive alliances as poisonous or infectious. Rather, by staging the female body as a site of contagion, both plays expose a deep-seated anxiety that all heterosexual relations pose the threat of contaminating mixture.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lehigh UniversityBethlehemUSA

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