Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
Dr. Cindy Melby Phaneuf
This paper explores the development of the character Eleanor of Aquitaine in James Goldman’s The Lion in Winter. The first chapter provides a brief survey of the major changes and the trends of the twelfth century which might have had an impact on the life of the historical Eleanor. A brief sketch of the major events in her life which are referenced in Goldman’s script follow, including: her family history, her marriage to Louis VI of France, the Second Crusade, scandal, divorce, her second marriage to Henry II of England, the fruitfulness of their union, Henry’s infidelity with Rosamund Clifford, Eleanor’s revenge though insurrection, her subsequent imprisonment, the rebellion of Henry and Eleanor’s sons, the death of Henry’s heir, the subsequent contention for the throne, more rebellion and insurrection, Henry’s attempt at peace, and Eleanor’s eventual freedom. The second chapter analyzes Eleanor’s relationships with the other characters according to Goldman’s script. The previous chapter on the historical Eleanor helps to inform the textual analysis by referencing their relationships in history. The third chapter contains an in-depth, scene by scene analysis of her character motivations, and actions using the archetypes of Queen, Warrior, Magician, and Lover. Tracking the rapid changes in dominant archetypical traits provides for deeper understanding of her motivation and through-line. The final chapter contains analysis and reflection of the rehearsal process and performance. Personal observations comment on the internal work of creating the character, as well as the external manifestations (ie. The physical characterization and vocal choices).
Willoughby, Charleen J. B., "Eleanor of Aquitaine: The woman behind the character in James Goldman's The Lion in Winter" (2001). Student Work. 3094.