Accepting the Failure of Human and State Bodies: Interactions of Syphilis and Space in "Hamlet" and "The Knight of the Burning Pestle" Thesis

thesis or dissertation chair

fiu authors

  • Radford, Hod


  • Romantic experiences in adolescence have been found to predict relationship stability and marital status in adulthood. Religious practice and belief also have been linked to many benefits, including increased marital satisfaction and overall wellbeing. However, certain religions limit cross-gender interaction in areas of education, social interaction, and romantic relationships. Although gender segregation has been studied in educational and occupational contexts, no previous research has addressed religious gender segregation and its impact on relationship development, marital satisfaction, and overall wellbeing. The present study addressed the generalizability of data on cross-gender experience derived from normative populations to a religious subculture, outlining predictors for marital satisfaction and wellbeing in an Orthodox Jewish sample. Results showed some similarities between normative populations and the unique Orthodox Jewish culture represented by the study sample. However factors such as cross gender experience also illustrated divergent paths and outcomes for this sample. This study demonstrates the influence of societal norms and the importance of addressing cultural context when evaluating marital satisfaction.

  • The purpose of this thesis is, first, to explore the presence and meaning of Foucault’s heterotopia within William Shakespeare’s Hamlet”and Beaumont and Fletcher’s “The Knight of the Burning Pestle.” The heterotopia is a privileged space of self-reflection created by individuals or societies in crisis. In each play, the presence of crisis is explained though the metaphor of syphilis; to which individual characters respond by entering the reflective space of the heterotopia in order to countenance and “cure” their afflictions. The second purpose of this thesis is to examine the ways in which the crises acted upon the stage reflect pressing social anxieties of late – Elizabethan and early- Jacobean England: succession to the throne and shifting market structure. Both playwrights create heterotopic space for their audience through the structure of their dramatic work, and ask their audience to enter this reflective space, and consider –and learn from – their remarks upon the state of society.

publication date

  • March 28, 2013


  • Beaumont
  • Elizabeth I
  • Fletcher
  • Foucault
  • Jewish
  • Marital satisfaction
  • Shakespeare
  • capital structures
  • disease
  • economics
  • heterotopia
  • religion
  • social norms
  • syphilis

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)