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date: 17 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article investigates Middleton's use of the transgressive genre of tragicomedy to critique both dominant and emergent discourses of masculinity. What happens when ideologies of male honour, rank, and family conflict? What do these contradictions do to early modern notions of male subjectivity? What do they say about a political system predicated upon patriarchal ideology? And, lastly, how do definitions of male subjectivity shift when the patriarchal economy moves from feudalism to the proto-capitalist marketplace? The article argues that Middleton's dialogic tragicomedy makes clear the contradictions inherent in patriarchal ideology and reveals even the most traditionally ‘honourable’ of masculine subject positions to be motivated by self-interest and narcissism.

Keywords: Thomas Middleton, transgressive genre, tragicomedy, masculinity

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