Date of Award

Fall 12-2010

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Joseph Navitsky

Committee Chair Department


Committee Member 2

Jameela Lares

Committee Member 2 Department


Committee Member 3

Nicolle Jordan

Committee Member 3 Department



In early modem England, "friendship" was a term both flexible and deeply fraught. It could apply to a wide range of relationships, including, for example, those between family members, lords and tenants, or male members of the aristocracy. The ideals associated with friendship at that time had a profound impact on the way that the relationship was represented both in a historical and literary sense. During that time, William Shakespeare crafted remarkable and resonating depictions of friendship which have endured the through the ages. The distinction between Shakespeare's work and the work of other early modem writers lies in the fact that Shakespeare, more than his contemporaries, tests all the tenets of friendship available in the early modem period. He ultimately rejects some of those principles and in the process creates his own unique vision of true friendship from the remnants of those models. It is a vision that comes closer to the classical philosophy of friendship than any other available in the early modem period, but also surpasses the ancient model by allowing friendship to blossom in new, unexpected, and radical ways.