Revenge tragedy and identity

Abdullah, Nurul Farhana Low Bt. (1999). Revenge tragedy and identity. University of Birmingham. M.Phil.

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This thesis attempts a reading of Revenge Tragedy using concepts found in Psychoanalytic theory to explore the idea of identity formation. Revenge tragedy was a popular form of drama in the Jacobean period, although the first revenge play, The Spanish Tragedy was written before the end of the sixteenth century. Revenge tragedies feature an individual who takes private action for a crime committed against a loved one, usually because he/she is denied legitimate justice. This type of drama is said to reflect the anxieties of its age, one of which is the question of identity. Identity is also a major concern of psychoanalytic theory, in which the self is not a stable or unified entity since the human subject is constituted through the representational dynamics of desire itself. According to Freud, the core of selfhood resides within the ego which mediates between the desires of the id and external reality. Lacan reformulates Freud's concept of the ego through identity formation which occurs through a series of identifications with objects of the external world. Such concepts are examined, then tested against revenge tragedies where the revenger uses role play and identification to refashion the self so that vengeance can be obtained.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
College/Faculty: Schools (1998 to 2008) > School of Humanities
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English Literature
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN2000 Dramatic representation. The Theater
P Language and Literature > PR English literature


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