Theses and Dissertations

Issuing Body

Mississippi State University


Johnson, Holly

Committee Member

Anderson, Thomas

Committee Member

Bentley, Greg

Date of Degree


Original embargo terms

MSU Only Indefinitely

Document Type

Graduate Thesis - Campus Access Only



Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Arts and Sciences


Department of English


Christopher Marlowe’s narrator-lover in Ovid’s Elegies increasingly embodies an epitome of conventional ideology. As I study Ovid’s Elegies and Marlowe’s poetics of subjectivity, I specifically address how the narrator’s inability to find the truth about himself, about love, and about the value of poetry reveals his gross misconceptions of his own contrived and illusory subjectivity, particularly the way in which his ill-conceived notions misrepresent love and poetry. That is, he cannot discover from his experience a personal identity and subjectivity. Without the ability to define himself, to embody feelings more substantive than his desire for sexual gratification and masculine conquest, the narrator cannot achieve self-knowledge, let alone self-mastery. In short, he lacks virtus. While Marlowe’s narrator repeatedly enters a liminal space wherein he recognizes a necessary advancement toward virtus within the symbolic order, he invariably collapses back upon his imaginary order, and he volitionally maintains a state of psychic stasis.