Sarah Moore

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Joseph Taylor

Committee Member

Chad Thomas

Committee Member

Jeffery Nelson


Gawain--(Legendary character)--Romances, Marie--de France--active 12th century--Yonec, Human-animal relationships in literature, Ecocriticism, Philosophy of nature in literature, Animal rights--Political aspects


In The Avowyng of Arthur, the King brings back to Carlisle “Bothe the birde and the brede” (491), a reference to the boar he slew and the lady his knights won in the forest. This conjunction of woman and meat on a single line illustrates the political tension in the text between what it is to be human and conversely, what it is to be animal. In addition, in Yonec the knight Muldumarec repeatedly transforms into a hawk, blurring the biological boundaries between animal and human. Although critics have frequently attended to the symbolic roles animals play in both these poems, they have failed to note the political impact of animals, and perhaps more significantly, animalization in these and other medieval texts. Using critical animal theory to examine these texts, I argue that it is through the process of animalizing others that the sovereign both defines and limits itself.



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