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Narratives of Eros and desire in Shakespeare's poetry

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posted on 2014-12-15, 10:37 authored by Shideh Ahmadzadeh. Heravi
Through a detailed analysis of two outstanding discourses on love: Plato's eros and Lacan's desire, this thesis studies the narratives of desire in Shakespeare's poetry. My reading of Shakespeare's poetry is an interpretation of three major themes of procreation, sublimation, and idealisation that not only reflect the discourse of desire but also establish its formulation. In each chapter a tradition of the theme has been respectively incorporated to demonstrate its context. Part I (Chapters One to Three) reveals Plato's concept of eros in terms of logocentricism and its egocentric nature. Part II (Chapters Four to Seven) concentrates on the cause, nature and object of desire from Lacan's perspective.;In Part III, Chapter Eight focuses on the metaphor of procreation as an egocentric desire that creates the irrevocable mark of loss. Through the act of regeneration, the lower not only establishes the beloved as an other but also denies any sense of unity. In Chapter Nine, the paradoxical nature of sublimation demonstrates a mode of auto-eroticism that constitutes desire as a metonymy of want-to-be. By elevating the beloved, the lover maintains his transcendence. Finally, Chapter Ten explores the unrepresentability of beauty and the inexpressibility of desire in the movement of idealisation. The dematerialisation of the beloved presents an iconic image of her and the language of desire, like the language of hieroglyphics, becomes indecipherable. Accordingly, the image of death in Shakespeare's poetry characterises the impossibility of desire. In a concluding chapter, I demonstrate how Shakespeare's lover in articulation of his desire, faces a dilemma.


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Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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    University of Leicester Theses