Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of English

Content Description

1 online resource (vi, 60 pages) : illustrations

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Helen Scheck

Committee Members

Ineke Murakami


alchemy, feminism, patriarchy, pericles, regenerative, shakespeare, Feminism in literature, Alchemy in literature

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature | Medieval Studies


William Shakespeare and George Wilkin’s romance play, Pericles, Prince of Tyre, is an example of a Renaissance narrative that includes alchemical subtext. There have been many academic articles and dissertations written on this subject; I seek to build upon these previous arguments to expand upon their premises to argue that this alchemical diction and iconography of alchemical emblems allows for Marina and Thaisa to promote the power latent in feminine-coded virtue as it resists against patriarchal violence and reforms a masculinist patriarchal system. The lens I utilized to analyze the text in my exploration of this topic, which I named alchemical feminism, is born of this conflict between the alchemically regenerative feminine and the alchemically degradative masculine. What culminates is a reformation of the patriarchal monarchical system to allow for broader authority and agency of women, though these women are still beholden to many shortcomings regarding freedom or autonomy, even with this reformation. The alchemically feminist lens reveals the way these interactions of alchemical diction and emblem create this broadening of feminine authority in the face of violent patriarchal norms.