Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


College of Humanities and Social Sciences



Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Jonathan Greenberg

Committee Member

Lucy McDiarmid

Committee Member

Adam Rzepka


In the first chapter of Ulysses, Stephen Dedalus makes the claim that he is "a servant of two masters ... an English and an Italian." These masters are further defined by Stephen as "The imperial British state ... and the holy Roman catholic and apostolic church" (17). But another master casts a shadow over the works of Joyce: Master William Shakespeare. Shakespeare, as this essay will attempt to prove, is present even when he is ostensibly absent from Joyce's work, with Joyce going so far as to recreate autobiographical events in order to erase Shakespeare's name from them. Just as Joyce's attempt at flying by and overcoming the nets of his masters led him to be an exile in life, so too is his oeuvre an attempt to come to terms with Shakespeare, so as to understand his own place in the canon of English literature. Shakespeare's literary achievements, combined with the way his works are appropriated by a literary over-class of "masters," synthesize and crystallize the oppression felt by both Stephen and Joyce. Master Will comes to represent many of the pressures which shaped Joyce's art- pressures which act as a mold for the smithy of the soul in which Joyce was attempting to create the undiscovered conscience of his race.