Award Date

May 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Committee Member

Evelyn Gajowski

Second Committee Member

Denise Tillery

Third Committee Member

Vincent Perez

Fourth Committee Member

Elspeth Whitney

Number of Pages



Although many early modern English plays portray women courting men, I contend that there are significant resonances between the methods of Rosalind, the female protagonist from a Shakespearean comedy, and those of the Duchess, from a Websterian tragedy. Rosalind and the Duchess woo, propose to, and arrange the marriage ceremony between them and their love interests. The witty dialogue which permeates the wooing scenes helps establish a strong mental connection between Rosalind and Orlando and the Duchess and Antonio. I examine the motives behind wooing and comparatively analyze the strategies of these female characters. Through this analysis, I present Rosalind and the Duchess as creative, intelligent, and devoted women who choose freedom by wooing the men they love.


As You Like It; emergent discourse; John Webster; Renaissance; Shakespeare; The Duchess of Malfi


Gender and Sexuality | Literature in English, British Isles | Theatre and Performance Studies | Women's Studies