Dopple-Gay-ngland: A Comparative Discussion of the Medieval Character Archetype as Literary Therapy for the Underprivileged Queer Community

Andrew Hamlin

Abstract


Upon primary examination of the depiction of gender roles in medieval literature, particularly the role of women in certain discourses, character types may seem to reinforce typical gender roles. However, upon closer examination, specific examples of a non-hegemonic discourse may be found. This project argues that the non-normative gender roles of female characters in medieval literature, chiefly The Wife of Bath from Chaucers The Canterbury Tales, should be seen as an allegorical solution to the present day rash of LGBT suicides. This article is framed by highlighting specific moments in medieval literature in which these characters upend traditional gender and class roles. The author analyzes medieval texts and their present-day incarnations in popular shows like Buffy The Vampire Slayer, suggesting that LGBT youth may use these characters to seek solace from feelings of isolation and depression. By linking medieval texts and their present day representations, this author fashions a transformative discourse that aims to resist normative constructions of gender and sexuality, helping LGBT youth to do the same.

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