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Queer Apprenticeship in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus

  • Mark Albert Johnston
Chapter

Abstract

Arguing that early modern English systems of mastery and apprenticeship were as invested in the construction and maintenance of queer childhood as in the production of normative adulthood, this chapter focuses on depictions of queerly unproductive or detrimental apprenticeship in Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus. While the play does not depict masters or apprentices literally, its focus on generational education and mimicry, along with its conflation of barber-surgery and barbarism, together suggest that the tragedy’s elder generation are in the process of training the play’s youth to become barbaric. Ultimately suggesting that barbarity, like civility, must be taught and learned, the corrupted models of apprenticeship the play depicts advance inverted, distorted, profane versions of the cultural ideal, thereby promoting not progress or improvement but rather a backward, barren, and stagnant cycle of bloodshed, violence, and revenge.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark Albert Johnston
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada

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