Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Research Paper (A&S entry)

The title and abstract for a paper I entered into an A&S competition. This paper was based on a research project I did for a master's level English class. However, since I took the class primarily to help motivate me to to SCA research, I think its fair to include this in here.
The rapier in Elizabethan society as seen through the works of William Shakespeare.
The rapier was an object of great significance for Elizabethan society. Using Shakespeare as a primary source, this essay explores the place of the rapier in Elizabethan society and attempts to uncover the significance and meaning that this weapon had in period. First, the carrying of a rapier is a useful way to illustrate both class and generational divisions in English society. Next, as a foreign import the rapier was indicative of something new and fashionable for the upper class, but it was also the target of larger and more encompassing English anti-foreign sentiment, a feeling which often ran along class lines. Finally, the popularity of the rapier coincided with an increase in social violence among the upper classes of England; part of a dueling culture that was itself was a quest by the elite to define themselves in a society that was changing around them.