Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis campus only



First Advisor

Kathryn Santos

Second Advisor

Rachel Joseph


This play with a critical introduction focuses on filling in the gaps left by Shakespeare's Othello by creating a space for black women in the play and giving meaning to the role of black women in Shakespeare’s canon more broadly. The critical introduction begins by interrogating the role of names and naming in Shakespeare's plays and adaptations by looking at how the language characters use to identify each other contributes to the process of identity creation. From there, the introduction outlines the ways in which intersections of identity—racial prejudices, patriarchal structures, and social status—work together to uniquely position black women, like the play's principal character Barbary, in a world that is not acknowledged in reading Othello. These ideas are relevant to today's world because our society has inherited much of the race thinking of the early modern period, and the racial epistemologies of the early modern period continue to shape our present moment. By excluding black women from what our society considers important, classic Western art does an injustice to racial minorities still struggling to find spaces of representation in the theater. Barbary provides a look at Shakespeare from a new perspective, highlighting the storylines of black women and their role in Shakespeare’s plays and giving black women full visibility in a theatrical context.