Pathologies of Mourning

Elizabethan Revenge Tragedies
  • Tobias Döring
Part of the Early Modern Literature in History book series (EMLH)


Since the Homeric scene of Hector’s farewell to Andromache, Western literature has often been concerned with moments of departure. Such acts of valediction and farewell form part of the intense moments of mourning which structure human life and which are often framed or formed in literary shape in an attempt to give them cultural validation, thereby managing the role of grief. One of the most helpful ways in which the experience of leave-taking has thus been rendered in a familiar and, possibly, comforting poetic figure is to place it in a pattern of some larger repetition, so that the parting moment is not final but superseded by a moment of return. As an example, we can take the parting between Cassius and Brutus before the battle of Philippi in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. Here we witness how the literal repetition of last words reiterates the fact of separation even as it articulates new hope:


Religious Practice Funeral Rite Colonial Discourse Colonial Encounter Acute Grief 
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© Tobias Döring 2006

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  • Tobias Döring

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