Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Nancy Jane Tyson, Ph.D.


Jude the Obscure, Feminist theory, Mythology, Barmaids, Victorian women, Marriage


The Sirens episode in The Odyssey is comparably short, but it is one of the most memorable scenes in the epic. Sirens are trying to stop the male narrative, the male quest of Odysseus with their own female "narrative power" (Doherty 82). They are the quintessential marginalized, calling for a voice, a presence, an audience in the text of patriarchy. The knowledge they promise, though, comes with the price of death. They are covertly sexual in Classical antiquity, but since the rise of Christianity, a new Siren emerged from the depths of the sea; instead of the sexually ambiguous embodiment of knowledge, she became fleshy, bestial, and lustful (Lao 113). In his Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy creates a Victorian Siren in the form of Arabella Donn, who personifies all of the misogynistic qualities of womanhood. She is deceptive, bestial, lecherous, and aligned with death and destruction. Intentionally or not, however, Hardy's Arabella is also paradoxically a bearer of truth and wisdom. This thesis will further textual study of Jude the Obscure and provide a new reading of Arabella Donn.