Doctoral thesis

Anti-Petrarchism in early Shakespeare

ContributorsMcgee, John
Defense date2014-05-23

Beginning with Mercutio's sarcastic comparison of Romeo to Petrarch in Romeo and Juliet, this thesis proposes to show that Shakespeare satirizes Petrarch and Petrarchism in five works from the mid-1590s, when the sonnet vogue was at its height, namely, Venus and Adonis, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Love's Labour's Lost, Romeo and Juliet and the procreation Sonnets. In particular, it argues that Venus is a parody of the sonnet lover, believing the world will end if Adonis dies; that Petrarchism in Dream is intrinsically comical; that Love's Labour's Lost is a full-fledged satire of Petrarchan love; and that Romeo does not leave his Petrarchism behind upon leaving Rosaline for Juliet but remains subject throughout to the god of all Petrarchan lovers, Cupid. It concludes that Shakespeare depicts Petrarchan love as narcissistic and as having a dehumanizing effect on both sexes, reducing men to their hormones and women to their body-parts.

  • Shakespeare
  • Petrarch
  • Petrarchism
  • Sonnet
  • Cupid
  • Satire
Citation (ISO format)
MCGEE, John. Anti-Petrarchism in early Shakespeare. 2014. doi: 10.13097/archive-ouverte/unige:39804
Main files (1)

Technical informations

Creation08/19/2014 10:38:00 PM
First validation08/19/2014 10:38:00 PM
Update time03/14/2023 9:33:32 PM
Status update03/14/2023 9:33:32 PM
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