Date of Award

January 2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Michelle M. Sauer


In this thesis, I examine the masculinities of the titular characters in Sir Isumbras and El Libro del Caballero Zifar [The Book of the Knight Zifar] through a lens of power in which masculinity is proven through the dominance over other men. Zifar and Isumbras must construct and prove their masculinities in a variety of circumstances; however, they differ significantly in their treatment of masculinity: Sir Isumbras extolls a compound masculinity, which the Zifar aims for one of consistency. I have chosen to focus on two of medieval Europe’s main Christian powers, and through a comparative analysis, their distinct masculinities become apparent. While many scholars have focused on aspects of lordship and identity construction, very few examine the core feature of those aspects: masculinity.