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UST Faculty Colloquium
Thursday, February 7, 2019 12:15 PM to 2:00 PM
University of St. Thomas - Houston logo

UST Faculty and Administrators are invited to this event hosted by the President's Office. Dr. Constantina Michalos presents, "Shakespeare's Feminized Friar." 

Other than actual clergymen who, by necessity, populate his history plays, William Shakespeare makes little use of this character type.  Friar Laurence is, perhaps, his most famous fictional cleric.  The Prioress appears as a maternal deus ex machina to resolve the confusions of A Comedy of Errors and reconstitute her family.  Disguised as a friar and, thus, paradoxically relatively invisible yet powerful, the duke of Vienna retreats to the margins of society to observe his overzealous deputy in Measure for Measure and returns to effect an uneasy resolution at play’s end.  Only in Much Ado About Nothing, however, does Shakespeare deliberately infuse his friar with spirituality, manifested in his empathy for Hero’s plight.  Moreover, the friar’s understanding emerges from a feminized perspective of her circumstances; that is, he correctly interprets Hero’s non-verbal behavior and responds with Christian charity instead of speaking her moral condemnation, as the other male characters do.

The traits he exhibits reflect the androgyny of Jesus, and his word choices echo the promise of rebirth and renewal that underscored Jesus’s ministry.  By emulating those qualities of Jesus that society traditionally ascribes to women, he subverts the power of a male-dominated culture and privileges a feminine perspective of that culture.

Cost Free
Location UST Ahern Room in Crooker Center

3909 Graustark St
Houston, TX


Anne Lambert

Sponsored By Office of the President
Flyer Click here to download the flyer