Darcie Rees

Date Approved


Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department or School

English Language and Literature

Committee Member

Elisabeth Däumer, PhD

Committee Member

Craig Dionne, PhD


This paper presents a reading of migrants and their relationships with political and environmental slow violence in William Shakespeare’s The Tempest and Othello. Using Steve Mentz’s work with water and shipwreck, Lowell Duckert’s work on water in Shakespeare, Rob Nixon’s concept “slow violence,” Patricia Fumerton’s book on vagrancy in sixteenth and seventeenth century England, and Ken Hiltner’s work with environmental advocacy of the same time, I read the social history of vagrancy of the time (presented by Hiltner and Fumerton) alongside the Poor Laws. This social history is combined with water-focused ecocriticism, shipwreck and a postcolonial reading of migrancy. Ultimately, the enmeshed position of the migrant in history, economics, and their environment in Shakespeare’s works is more clearly articulated.