Department or Program


Additional Department or Program (if any)

<--Please Select Department-->

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

YuJin Ko


In Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, Othello, and Cymbeline, one senses a common thread: false suspicion by the male partner of sexual infidelity by their female partners. However, despite the similarity of their original offenses, each man is punished differently, and these plays reach startlingly different outcomes and fall into a different genre. Scholars have long wondered why. Examining the plays reveals important dissimilarities between these men, their partners, and their relationships, and as the plot and the characters unfold, the couples are driven towards diverse endings. Claudio, barely punished, gets a happy ending. Othello, though, is brutally punished. Finally, Posthumus, also roughly punished, learns how to redeem himself and save his marriage. By rewarding some actions and choices with happy endings and condemning others to sorrow and death, Shakespeare paints a picture about the importance of a certain kind of love and bond in a healthy and strong relationship.