Mythmaking in progress: plays by women on female writers and literary characters

Thesis Type: Doctorate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Turkey

Approval Date: 2007

Thesis Language: English

Student: Pürnur Uçar Özbirinci



This thesis analyzes the process of women’s mythmaking in the plays written by female playwrights. Through writing the lives of female writers and rewriting the literary characters, which have been created by male writers, the women playwrights assume the role of a mythmaker. A mythmaker possesses the power to use the ‘word,’ thereby possesses the power to control ‘reality.’ However, for centuries, women have been debarred from generating their own myths, naming their own experiences, and controlling their own ‘realities.’ Male mythmakers prescribed the roles women were required to perform within the society. Feminist archetypal theorists believe that through a close study of related patterns in women’s writing, common grounds, and experiences, the archetypes shared by women will be disclosed. Unveiling these archetypes will eventually lead to the establishment of new myths around these archetypes. As myths are regarded as the source of collective experiences, analyzing how women have rewritten, revised, devised, and originated myths would thus permit women to reclaim the power to name, and hence to influence the so-called reality established by the patriarchy. Hence, this study analyzes the constantly developing process of women’s mythmaking/mythbreaking in Liz Lochhead’s Blood and Ice, Rose Leiman Goldemberg’s Letters Home, Bilgesu Erenus’ Halide, Timberlake Wertenbaker’s The Love of the Nightingale, Bryony Lavery’s Ophelia, and Zeynep Avcı’s Gilgamesh. These playwrights try to depose the stereotypical images attributed to women by male mythmakers.