Nakedness appears in a variety of forms within Shakespeare’s drama, from the most physical (requiring the undressing of an actor) to the metaphoric (including representations of psychological, social and spiritual exposure). My thesis will explore the rich symbolism with which these instances of theatrical nakedness are charged. In particular, I will consider how Shakespeare, in his dramatic representations of nakedness, responds to its religious meanings: the complex blend of guilt, shame, truth, innocence, revelation and mortality with which nakedness, throughout The Bible, (and within a subsequent range of early modern sermons, theological essays, religious artwork and rituals), is associated. The climate of religious turbulence in which Shakespeare operated will lend an additional layer of complexity to this enquiry into early modern theatrical nudity and its contribution to dramatic meaning.
The Shakespeare Institute not only offers an unrivalled collection of resources for early modern theatre studies, but a truly inspiring research community. I feel privileged to work alongside leading scholars within my field, and feel that there is no better environment in which to flourish as a researcher and to pursue my ultimate goal of becoming a university lecturer.