Chapter

Only Human: <i>Coriolanus</i>

Andy Mousley

in Re-Humanising Shakespeare

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print June 2007 | ISBN: 9780748623181
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748652211 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/edinburgh/9780748623181.003.0007
Only Human: Coriolanus

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The overall aim of this chapter is to do with vulnerability what the last chapter did with fear, which is via Coriolanus and a selective use of psychoanalytic theory to draw out its existential significance. Like Janet Adelman in Suffocating Mothers: Fantasies of Maternal Origin in Shakespeare's Plays, it also discusses the emotions in general, by considering their transactional nature and the implications of this for ideas of human nature and human well-being. Coriolanus can mostly think about human nature only in terms of what is in him, rather than in terms of what is shared. Using Coriolanus for the emotional wisdom which it imparts, one might say that too much fostering of autonomy and detachment can lead to feelings of disconnection, while too much dependence can generate feelings of helplessness.

Keywords: Coriolanus; Janet Adelman; psychoanalytic theory; human nature; human well-being; autonomy; detachment; helplessness

Chapter.  6171 words. 

Subjects: Shakespeare Studies and Criticism

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