"such fair question": rhetoric, education, and the use of questions in Othello and King Lear

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dc.contributor Wilson, Emma Annette
dc.contributor Burch, Steven D.
dc.contributor.advisor O'Dair, Sharon
dc.contributor.author Donahoe, Emily Pitts
dc.date.accessioned 2017-04-26T14:26:37Z
dc.date.available 2017-04-26T14:26:37Z
dc.date.issued 2016
dc.identifier.other u0015_0000001_0002421
dc.identifier.other Donahoe_alatus_0004M_12772
dc.identifier.uri http://ir.ua.edu/handle/123456789/3110
dc.description Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
dc.description.abstract In this thesis, I examine the relationship between early modern rhetorical education and Shakespeare’s use of the question in Othello and King Lear, two plays that contain some of the greatest proportions of questions in Shakespeare’s cannon. I argue that even in the plays that seem most skeptical of rhetorical performance, like Othello and King Lear, the protagonists’ development, and developing self-awareness, is heavily dependent upon their use of rhetorical methods. In both plays, rhetoric and early modern methods of teaching it together constitute a force that has the power to harm, even ruin, both its adherents and its detractors. Simultaneously, however, rhetoric and early modern rhetorical education provide indispensable tools for self-examination and self-reflection, tools that benefit conscientious students of rhetoric in a variety of ways. Both of these views are played out through the use (and abuse) of questions in the two plays. I concentrate primarily on how the characters in these plays succeed and fail in employing the kinds of rhetorical practices emphasized in grammar school instruction. For example, in Othello, I consider Othello’s and Iago’s aptitudes for arguing in utramque partem, on both sides of the question, and in Lear, I analyze the characters’ facility in imitatio. The rhetorical successes and failures of the characters reveal much about Shakespeare’s complex relationship with rhetoric. As I hope to show, the characters in Othello and King Lear, like early modern students, either internalize or fail to internalize these principles to their ultimate benefit or detriment. By examining how the characters apply and fail to apply the principles of rhetoric, I aim to illustrate the plays’ complex views of rhetoric as an art that can lead to self-knowledge or to self-destruction—and sometimes to both.
dc.format.extent 81 p.
dc.format.medium electronic
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language English
dc.language.iso en_US
dc.publisher University of Alabama Libraries
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Electronic Theses and Dissertations
dc.relation.ispartof The University of Alabama Libraries Digital Collections
dc.relation.hasversion born digital
dc.rights All rights reserved by the author unless otherwise indicated.
dc.subject.other English literature
dc.title "such fair question": rhetoric, education, and the use of questions in Othello and King Lear
dc.type thesis
dc.type text
etdms.degree.department University of Alabama. Dept. of English
etdms.degree.discipline English
etdms.degree.grantor The University of Alabama
etdms.degree.level master's
etdms.degree.name M.A.


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