Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

MA English




Robert Apfelbaum

Committee Member

Chrysanthy Greico


Shakespeare, "Love Labour's Lost", "Much Ado About Nothing", "Measure for Measure", Elizabethan Constable, Office of Constable, Civic law enforcers


"Shakespeare Under Arrest: The Construction and Idea of the Constable in Love Labour's Lost, Much Ado About Nothing, and Measure for Measure"' examines the comedic constables, Dull, Dogberry and Elbow respectively. The constables are constructed from the historical frame work that formed and informed their office. In order to properly construct the comedic constables that appear in these comedies. William Shakespeare had to have a historical frame in order to place them in the proper historical framework before his Elizabethan audiences. This work uses such sources as T.A. Critchley's, A History of Police in England and Wales and Joan R. Kent's work, The English Village Cons/able 1580-1642 among others, to discuss the historical foundation of the Elizabethan Constable who appears and reappears throughout these plays. This work also discusses the office of constable through William Shakespeare's personal history, one that includes a discussion of his family and especially his father John, who was a parish constable. There is also a discussion of the historically known encounters of William Shakespeare and the civil law enforcers of this own time and how those encounters may have formed and informed his characters, Dull, Dogberry and Elbow. Finally, this work discusses the comedic constables through the plays themselves: Loves Labour's Lost, Much Ado About Noting and Measure for Measure and how Shakespeare's characters represent and reflect of the actual Elizabethan office of the parish constable.