Epilogue: Tragedies of Incomplete Catharsis

  • Graham Holderness
  • Nick Potter
  • John Turner
Part of the Contemporary Interpretations of Shakespeare book series (CIS)


Thomas Rymer’s comments upon Othello have often been mocked; and yet, with the sure instinct of hostility, they hit upon something generally true of Shakespearean tragedy — its dangerousness.


Official Line Bourgeois Society Psychoanalytic Thought Utopian Dream Tragic Hero 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 3.
    W. R. Elton, ‘King Lear’ and the Gods (San Marino, 1966) p. 243; see also pp. 241–5.Google Scholar
  2. 5.
    Perry Anderson, Lineages of the Absolutist State (New Left Books, 1974) p. 135.Google Scholar
  3. 6.
    See J. G. A. Pocock, The Ancient Constitution and the Feudal Law: A Study of English Historical Thought in the Seventeenth Century (Cambridge University Press, 1957) ch. 1, pp. 21–9, and the whole of ch. 3, for a discussion of the stimulus brought to historical thought by the need to compare two different coexisting systems of law.Google Scholar
  4. 8.
    Gordon J. Schochet, Patriarchalism in Political Thought: The Authoritarian Family and Political Speculation and Attitudes Especially in Seventeenth-Century England (Basil Blackwell, 1975) p. 9.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century England (Penguin, 1973) p. 672.Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    Robert Burton, The Anatomy of Melancholy (Everyman’s Library edn, 1932), 1,65. Keith Thomas refers to these pages in the passage just quoted.Google Scholar
  7. 16.
    Quoted in G. B. Harrison, and R. F. McDonnell (eds), ‘King Lear’: Text, Sources, Criticism ( New York, Harcourt, Brace and World, 1962) p. 117.Google Scholar
  8. 17.
    Samuel Johnson, Works, viii (Yale University Press, 1968) 703.Google Scholar
  9. 19.
    Rosalie Colie, ‘Reason and Need: King Lear and the “Crisis” of the Aristocracy’, in R. L. Colie and F. T. Flahiff (eds), Some Facets of ‘King Lear’: Essays in Prismatic Criticism (University of Toronto Press, 1974) p. 191.Google Scholar
  10. 20.
    W. W. Greg, ‘Time, Place, and Politics in King Lear’, in J. C. Maxwell (ed.), Collected Papers (Oxford University Press, 1966) p. 322. I assume the Gloucester of i. v.1 is the person and not the place.Google Scholar
  11. 21.
    A. C. Bradley, Shakespearean Tragedy (Macmillan, 1905) p. 261.Google Scholar
  12. 30.
    Gillian Beer, The Romance (Methuen, 1970) p. 2.Google Scholar
  13. 32.
    Maynard Mack, ‘King Lear’ in our Time (Methuen, 1966) p. 5.Google Scholar
  14. 33.
    Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales (Penguin, 1978) p. 239.Google Scholar
  15. 35.
    Michael Long, The Unnatural Scene: A Study in Shakespearean Tragedy (Methuen, 1976) p. 163.Google Scholar
  16. 38.
    Samuel Daniel, A Panegyrike Congratvlatory Deliuered to the Kings most excellent maiesty at Burleigh Harrington in Rutlandshire (Scolar Press, 1970) stanza 26.Google Scholar
  17. 41.
    P. B. Shelley, Preface to Prometheus Unbound in Thomas Hutchinson (ed.), Shelley: Poetical Works (Oxford University Press, 1967) p. 207. Shelley is aiming to revitalize and to radicalize that tradition of romance of which Shakespeare is critical in King Lear.Google Scholar
  18. 43.
    By J. W. Draper in ‘The Occasion of King Lear’, Studies in Philology, 34 (1937) 185.Google Scholar
  19. 47.
    William Wordsworth, Poetical Works, ed. E. de Selincourt (Oxford University Press, 1940–9) iv,73.Google Scholar
  20. 50.
    James H. Kavanagh, ‘Shakespeare in Ideology’, in John Drakakis (ed.), Alternative Shakespeares (Methuen, 1985) pp. 156–7.Google Scholar
  21. 51.
    Marvin Rosenberg, The Masks of King Lear (University of California Press, 1972) p. 34.Google Scholar
  22. 56.
    Janine Chasseguet-Smirgel, Creativity and Perversion (Free Association Books, 1985) p. 12.Google Scholar
  23. 58.
    M. Masud R. Khan, Alienation in Perversions (Hogarth Press, 1979) p. 16: ‘The inconsolability of the pervert is matched only by his insatiability.’Google Scholar
  24. 59.
    See Melanie Klein, ‘Envy and Gratitude’, in Envy and Gratitude and Other Works 1946–63 (Hogarth Press, 1975) pp. 176–235. I follow her argument here that envy is the primary two-person relationship out of which the three-person relationship of jealousy may develop.Google Scholar
  25. 60.
    Joseph Conrad, Nostromo (Penguin edn, 1963) p. 303.Google Scholar
  26. 61.
    Marilyn French, Shakespeare’s Division of Experience (Sphere, 1983) p. 227.Google Scholar
  27. 65.
    G. Wilson Knight, The Wheel of Fire (Methuen, 1954) p. 160. See the whole of ch. 8: ‘King Lear and the Comedy of the Grotesque’.Google Scholar
  28. 68.
    Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France (Everyman’s Library edn, 1910) pp. 93–4.Google Scholar
  29. 69.
    Joseph Conrad, Lord Jim (Penguin edn, 1949) p. 66.Google Scholar
  30. 74.
    Wilbur Sanders, The Dramatist and the Received Idea: Studies in the Plays of Marlowe and Shakespeare (Cambridge University Press, 1968) p. 326.Google Scholar
  31. 76.
    Glynne Wickham, ‘Hell-Castle and its Door-Keeper’, in Shakespeare Survey, 19 (1966) 70.Google Scholar
  32. 77.
    See E. M. W. Tillyard, Shakespeare’s History Plays (Chatto and Windus, 1944) p. 315. See also pp. 315–18.Google Scholar
  33. 78.
    See H. N. Paul, The Royal Play of ‘Macbeth’ (New York, 1950) p. 7ff.Google Scholar
  34. 80.
    M. C. Bradbrook, ‘The Sources of Macbeth’,Shakespeare Survey, 4 (1951) 39.Google Scholar
  35. 85.
    A. P. Rossiter, Angel with Horns and Other Shakespeare Lectures, ed. Graham Storey (Longmans Green, 1961) p. 210.Google Scholar
  36. 92.
    Marcel Mauss, The Gift: Forms and Functions of Exchange in Archaic Societies, tr. Ian Cunnison (Cohen and West, 1966) p. 1.Google Scholar
  37. 94.
    Perry Anderson, Passages from Antiquity to Feudalism (New Left Books, 1974) p. 152.Google Scholar
  38. 97.
    René Girard, Violence and the Sacred, tr. Patrick Gregory (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1977) p. 58.Google Scholar
  39. 100.
    Terry Eagleton, William Shakespeare (Basil Blackwell, 1986) p. 5.Google Scholar
  40. 106.
    Steven Marcus, The Other Victorians: A Study of Sexuality and Pornography in Mid-Nineteenth-Century England (Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1966) p. 281.Google Scholar
  41. 119.
    W. B. Yeats, ‘Meru’, in The Collected Poems of W. B. Yeats (Macmillan, 1950) p. 333.Google Scholar
  42. 120.
    Thomas Rymer, A Short View of Tragedy ,in Curt A. Zimansky (ed.), The Critical Works of Thomas Rymer (Yale University Press, 1956) p. 164.Google Scholar
  43. 123.
    Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil: Prelude to a Philosophy of the Future ,tr. R. J. Hollingdale (Penguin, 1973) section 39, p. 50.Google Scholar
  44. 124.
    Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo, in the Pelican Freud Library, vol. 13 (Penguin, 1985) p. 71.Google Scholar
  45. 125.
    Clifford Leech, Tragedy (Methuen, 1969) p. 65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 126.
    W. B. Yeats, ‘Crazy Jane Talks with the Bishop’, in Collected Poems p. 294.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Graham Holderness, Nick Potter and John Turner 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graham Holderness
    • 1
  • Nick Potter
    • 2
  • John Turner
    • 1
  1. 1.University College of SwanseaUK
  2. 2.West Glamorgan Institute of Higher EducationUK

Personalised recommendations