Titanic’s Doomed Lovers as Shakespearean Avatars

  • Eric S. Mallin
Part of the Reproducing Shakespeare book series (RESH)


I argue here for a latent ideological connection between Shakespeare and a contemporary movie romance, James Cameron’s celebrated and sometimes unloved Titanic (1997). This is the only movie I discuss whose Shakespearean antecedents are clear if not always perfectly understood: when Cameron pitched the movie to the studio, he called it “Romeo and Juliet on the ‘Titanic.’” I take his pitch seriously and examine the connections in the text that strikingly suggest a sorry fate in the imagined afterlife for all four lovers, whose story has become an integral part of modern popular culture and our faulty view of the model romance. Titanic, unlike Romeo and Juliet, is a true tragedy, though it may not know that.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric S. Mallin
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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