Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)



Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Robert Sawyer

Committee Members

Karen Harrington, Judith B. Slagle, Jeffrey Powers-Beck


In Shakespeare’s The Tempest and King Lear, the relationship between the father and his children affects the progression and outcome of events. Goneril and Regan oppose Lear after Cordelia’s untimely rebellion and disownment. In The Tempest, Caliban desires to overthrow Prospero for freedom. Similarly, the appropriative offspring also exhibit rebellious “children” challenging authority. In Jane Smiley’s revision of King Lear and Aimé Césaire’s rewriting of The Tempest, defiance renders the children fatherless. In Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Ariel initially disregards her father but ultimately accepts his rule. In Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day, the text itself becomes an orphan as the matriarchy flourishes.

Although there appear to be few similarities between these works, the familial dynamic follows a similar formula: the children disobey, but only those who eventually accept the principles of the patriarchy are able to maintain a relationship with their parents; the children who reject the authority become orphans.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.