Document Type


Date of Degree Completion

Spring 2016

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Theatre Studies

Committee Chair

Jay Ball

Second Committee Member

Mark Auslander

Third Committee Member

George Bellah


By applying David Savran’s scholarship on the politics of masculinity to John Osborne’s play A Patriot for Me (1965), I demonstrate that Osborne exemplified contradictory sexual politics in the play, and was criticized as homophobic and praised as revolutionary in similarly contradictory original reviews. I argue that play very much typifies the heteronormative politics of masculinity by placing a dominant homosexual (Redl) as protagonist, and inverts the positions of the period woman and the staged effeminate man. Redl is historically represented as a heroic homosexual, but is actually a heteronormative object. I provide evidence for this interpretation by employing Savran to conduct a close reading of the play A Patriot for Me. I also provide in my Conclusion an analysis of a notebook in the Osborne archives, purported by biographer John Heilpern to be simply notes for A Patriot for Me, but which actually contain many private ruminations on Osborne’s sexual politics that shed light on his thoughts concerning homosexuality.