Introduction Second Paper

13 12 2010

Love through hearing is one of the most important motors of the works of William Shakespeare. This statement will be analized along this second paper. If in first paper, we looked at the importance of this subject matter in the Shakespearean Comedy Much Ado About Nothing, now we will spread this knowledge up to other works, and concretely to As you Like It, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and a couple of shakespearean Sonnets.

The purpose of this work is very demanding and it is not posible to exhaust it in this blog, because it would require a much more exhautive work similar to the one needed to write a doctoral thesis. Then, this paper aims at tasting this new way of reading and watching Shakespeare.

And, which is this new way ? The very unknown features of human relationships which often are moved by what we call mimetism, or mimesis.

Human being is not isolated, and needs the other people in order to exist, this could be one of the reasons why everyone does what hears or looks from the others. And of course Love, as the most important realtionship among humans is highly influenced by this mechanism.

For example, friendship is the perfect coincidence of two desires. But envy and desire are not another thing. Mimesis of the desire is simultaneously the result of the better offered by friendship, and the worse given by the hate. This luminous paradox play a huge role in the theatre of Shakespeare.

In this paper we will appreciate the subtle ways in which this mechanism of mimesis is developed. Sometimes , like in the case of Benedick and Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, this mimesis is very clear. Sometimes it is quite hidden under the mask of antimimesis like in the case of As You like It.

In both cases, however, the importance of love, and the importance of society in order to love will lead us to meditate about the reality of our days, and perhaps we will find out that Shakespeare is not so far.

Conclusion Second Paper

13 12 2010

Love her because I do (sonnet XLII)…This could be the conclusion of this paper, the conclusion of the author himself. The most important thing we can extract from the lines of this paper is the fundamental role of the other person, of society , in everyone’s decisions and lives.

First of all, we appreciated the importance of hearing in order to love the object that which is being loved by the person we listen to. This is mainly reflected in Much Ado About Nothing.

Secondly, we went into a much deeper analysis of the phenomenon of loving through hearing, and that is not only loving in its reality, but loving in the fiction of our dreams. In fact, usually we fall in love not as a consequence of reality, but as a consequence of our alienation from reality. Because we often feel deluded by the real world and prefer to look for fiction rather than look for a deeper sense of reality. This is the essence of what we could look at in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Thirdly, we could perceive that amorous liasons in William Shakespeare are almost always marked by a loving mimesis, that is loving what another loves, mainly by means of hearing. As You Like It shows that even when openly there is not the mechanism of loving what others love, the effort of pure love hides the real source of it , that is a loving mimesis.

Finally, we focused on the author of these plays, because as a matter of fact he is the direct source of the creation of these subtle relationships. In order to enter into the heart of the author, we analyzed some of his sonnets, in which a triangle relationship takes us to appreciate that he also suffered from the fact that normally we love what another loves.

The importance of this paper lies in the fact that William Shakespeare geniusly made an approach to the mechanism of this love. As a matter of fact, if we don’t take into account the mimetic mechanism of love, we cannot understand the difficult relationships of Shakespearean plays. The finesse of his plays doesn’t lie within the topics, because they already existed and were written at that time, but the finesse of the Shakespearean play lies in the way he develops these topics. Then, love becomes something much deeper. Shakespeare describes in a very clear way the inner forces of human beings and how they interact with the society and the world.

Video As You Like It

11 12 2010

Video As You Like It animated in the BBC

Bibliography Second Paper

11 12 2010

Girard, René. Shakespeare,los fuegos de la envidia. Barcelona: Anagrama, 1995.

For further information:
Bloom, Harold.El Canon occidental. Barcelona: Anagrama, 1995.
Girard, René. Literatura, mímesis y antropología. Barcelona: Gedisa, 1997.
“Deseo mimético y estructura antropológica”. Revista anthropos, 2006. nº213.

URL’ s Second Paper

11 12 2010

About loving mimesis

About A Midsummer Night’s Dream,pageNum-107.html#ixzz17XrsZUPK

About As You Like It

About Shakespearean Sonnets

Primary Sources:

Other helping url’s:

Loving Mimesis in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

11 12 2010

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of the most clear examples of loving by mimesis, through hearing, through the eyes and finally in the fantasy of a dream. With this play, Shakespeare adopted for first time a strategy perfectly adequated to the resistance provoked by any excess of mimetic revelation. Always the spectators will prefer the magic of a dream or the inevitable love at first sight, but much harder will be for them to aceptate mimesis as the way of the love.

In a Midsummer Night’s Dream, the aspect magical-religious is the most spread and most finished mask of the mimetic interaction, the original mask, our own culture. In this play, the mask is continuosly put and taken away.

Despite its magic characters, this play has an extrem realism which is very present today.

To choose love by another’s eyes, this is one of the most important texts in which we can perceive the clear intention of the author in order to develope the topic of loving mimesis.

Ay me! for aught that I could ever read,
Could ever hear by tale or history,
The course of true love never did run smooth;
But, either it was different in blood,–
O cross! too high to be enthrall’d to low.
Or else misgraffed in respect of years,–
O spite! too old to be engaged to young.
Or else it stood upon the choice of friends,–
O hell! to choose love by another’s eyes.

(I, 1, 132-140)

This poetic duet belongs to a very well-known genre when the obstacles of love are sung : difference in age, difference in the social scale and – lastly but not less important- the pressures made by a third person.Love of Proteo to Sylvia depends on the election of Valentin; Tarquino, the one who never saw Lucrecia with his eyes, How can he love her but by another’s eyes?This is something rejected by anyone. Rejection of memetic desire is a silent imperative but very strict.

Lisander and Hermia are too mistaken in order to imagine something so subtle like the mimetic interpretation of their words. Mimetic desire is as less concious of itself as the act of breathing. Hermia has just changing one lover for another in a few hours, and Lisander invaded by another passion will abandon Hermia in the forest. The one and the other, however, only believe in their own myths. That is they have created their own myth, the one they will imitate along their lives.
Shakespeare is much more modern than all of us, puecause he is the only one who reveals the indefeasible tabues of our culture, that thinks that is free of any tabu. In front of the tiniest revelation of our abyss which separate from the conception of the desire, we murmur that Shakespeare was a conservatist. But in the field of the desire, the ideas that, fron century to century, we label as subversive in order to make then younger, they are in fact, the most conservatine, stale topics in the Renaissance and with which William Shakespeare jokes with no mercy.

This tabu of mimetism in very well studied by René Girard, who extracted the loving mimesis from which seemed to be only a romantical and pure desire. Though there are many theories of romantic love such as that of Robert Sternberg in which it is merely a mean combining liking and sexual desire, the major theories involve far more insight. For most of the 20th century, Freud’s theory of the family drama dominated theories of romance and sexual relationships. This has given rise to a few counter-theories. Theorists like Deleuze counter Freud and Jacques Lacan by attempting to return to a more naturalistic philosophy:

René Girard argues that romantic attraction is a product of jealousy and rivalry—particularly in a triangular form

Girard, in any case, downplays romance’s individuality in favor of jealousy and the love triangle, arguing that romantic attraction arises primarily in the observed attraction between two others. A natural objection is that this is circular reasoning, but Girard means that a small measure of attraction reaches a critical point insofar as it is caught up in mimesis. Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, As You Like It, and The Winter’s Tale are the best known examples of competitive-induced romance.[12]
Girard’s theory of mimetic desire is controversial because of its alleged sexism. This view has to some extent supplanted its predecessor, Freudian Oedipal theory. It may find some spurious support in the supposed attraction of women to aggressive men. As a technique of attraction, often combined with irony, it is sometimes advised that one feign toughness and disinterest, but it can be a trivial or crude idea to promulgate to men, and it is not given with much understanding of mimetic desire in mind.

Girard, René. Shakespeare,los fuegos de la envidia. Barcelona: Anagrama, 1995

Interaction ear-tongue. Looking with the ears

11 12 2010

Even If the topic of this paper is related to “Love Through Hearsay” , we should bear in mind, that in Shakespeare, the senses are not isolated, and the importance of the language cannot be taken appart from the importance of the vision, that is why I added here a fragment of the article: “Looking with ears, hearing with eyes: Shakespeare and the ear of the early modern”

1. Where is an ear? Is an ear part of the inside or the outside of a body, and how can we distinguish its own inside and outside surfaces? Where is the ear of an era, the ear of the early modern? And what of the ear of Shakespeare? Such quibbling might seem of little consequence, serving to irritate rather than illuminate, and yet irritation is sometimes productive. It is the foreign body that puts the body to work.[1]

2. These questions resonate in the context of the various debates within early modern studies on the body, on orality and aurality, on speech and writing, on the voice and the gaze. In particular, these questions have a special pertinence in the context of recent calls for an attention to sense, and to the senses, and the proposal that such attention might best come through a phenomenological approach. For it seems clear that phenomenology quickly embeds itself within a visuality that supplants and supplements orality. In other words, the eye and the ear change places, but without ever being able to eliminate the residue of the one in the other, like a foreign body, continuing to work like the grit within the oyster shell.


3. In Shakespeare’s works, the ear is treated with an ambivalence that cannot be simply idiomatic. One of the most famous invocations of the ear is, of course, Antony’s “Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!” (3.2.65) in Julius Caesar.[2] Antony’s rhetorical display is one of the clearest examples of persuasion as force, and stands against seemingly more naive alternative views in Shakespeare’s works, such as that expressed in Othello by Brabantio: “words are words; I never yet did hear / That the bruis’d heart was pierced through the ear.” (1.3.216-19).[3] The irony of Brabantio’s lack of insight is that Desdemona is indeed won over by Othello’s stories, and the play, which is more frequently read through Othello’s desire for “ocular proof”, is full of references to the ear. At 1.3.377, Iago suggests that he will “abuse Othello’s ear” and the editor of the Cambridge edition glosses “abuse” as “deceive”. But is it that simple? Might it not rather be that Iago is simply going to exploit the openness of Othello’s ear, an image reinforced by his later claim that he will “pour this pestilence into his ear” (2.3.323). Anthony’s recognition of the power of speech is closer to Augustine’s sense of the ear as the route to the heart: “Whisper in my heart, I am here to save you. Speak so that I may hear your words. My heart has ears ready to listen to you, Lord. Open them and whisper in my heart, I am here to save you.” [4] Yet the ear, unlike the eye, is always open, always ready to receive, and can only be “closed” with difficulty. Thus there is always the possibility of the call, but this call cannot be screened; to decide whether or not to “listen” to a speech, one must already have heard it. Any pestilence will already have been incorporated. The difficulty arising is analogous to the problems of interpretation posed by a statement such as “Do not read this sentence.” One can only obey its prescription after having broken the law that it attempts to institute.

4. Equally, this problem about the spatial definition of the ear finds its way into critical texts. Thus Jonathan Bate, in a discussion of Olivier’s film of Hamlet, finds himself saying: “At the very centre of the play is Hamlet’s lacerating confrontation with his mother in her bedchamber. In this iconic moment, Hamlet is forcing Gertrude back on to the bed; he seems on the verge of piercing not just her ear but her body.” [5] Not just her ear but her body. What notion of the ear is Bate working with here, if he is able to distinguish the ear from the body? This might appear to be a mistake on Bate’s part, but I would like to suggest that it is rather a symptomatic example of the difficulties which surround (without lying “outside”) the ear.

5. Part of the fascination with the ear and hearing stems from a clear connection between the ear and the tongue, emphasised by the fact that one can hear oneself speak in a way that one cannot see oneself seeing, cannot taste oneself tasting, and so on. This link between a form of self-awareness and the voice makes hearing an intimate sense. But although this has led to a privileging of the ear and the tongue over other organs, there are indications in the literary texts of the early modern period that suggest we be cautious about endorsing this privilege. Adopting another perspective, over thirty years ago Jacques Derrida suggested that: “Hearing oneself speak is not the inwardness of an inside that is closed in upon itself; it is the irreducible openness in the inside; it is the eye and the world within speech.” [6] At the time, Derrida was attempting to account for the familiar association of speech with a sense of intimacy and interiority, and for the privilege of this sense over others within a philosophical tradition which culminates (without ending) in phenomenology. Of particular interest here is the movement from hearing to “the eye and the world within speech.” Rupturing any sense of the self-enclosed relay from tongue to ear, Derrida counts self-overhearing as an indication of the continuity of speech and world that refuses to be closed off as an expression of “self.” It is not that there is not a world elsewhere, it is that it refuses to remain safely “over there”, outside the body. It is worth restating here, however, that those who read statements such as this, as well as Derrida’s by now infamous “il n’y a pas de hors-texte” [“there is no outside-text”], as a gesture of textual idealism are clearly wrong.[7]

6. In part why I choose to cite Derrida here is that in two recent works of pertinence to our discussion, there has been a suggestion that phenomenology might provide a way to think through questions of the senses.[8] I think that such a movement is to be welcomed, but I also think that we should be clear about the trajectories that such phenomenological investigations might take. Western philosophy, it is sometimes argued, is the history of a sustained movement from the sensual to the supersensual. [9] Thinking, in this tradition, is not something that can be equated with sensing, or at least not with the actions of or impressions received by the senses. This is the difference between making sense and sensuality. This movement then from the physical to the metaphysical has a long and elevated history, even if that history now appears to be under a certain amount of stress. Bruce Smith’s recent work has offered an alternative to this separation of the realm of the senses from early modern textuality, emphasising the embodiedness of readers and audiences in an aural world. Smith’s work raises some important questions relevant to the debates on textuality and performativity in the early modern period. Yet there are ways in which certain early modern texts, and the ones chosen here are simply emblematic of a much wider (perhaps even interminable) project, might intervene in these debates. What I would like to offer here is merely an indication of a sense of unease that arises about the movement away from ‘philosophy’ and back to the embodied reader or audience member.

7. That philosophy need not be abandoned in our return to a concern for the senses is ably demonstrated by Jonathan Rée’s wonderful I See A Voice. While I might not fully endorse all that this book contains, there is a short passage which I think is instructive in opening up the significance of these questions. Noting the privilege afforded to voice (even by those most apparently keen to attack that privilege), Rée suggests that there are four basic “delusions” that govern the arguments around voice: “first, that the voice is intrinsically connected with the existence of a self-identical soul, spirit, or inward subjectivity; second, that experience must ultimately be analysed into the distinct contributions made by the various bodily senses; third, that hearing is specifically concerned with time, and vision with space; and fourth, that language has two fundamentally different forms: audible speech which occupies time but not space, and visible writing which occupies space but not time.” [10] As Rée suggests, such delusions do not evaporate simply because they can be recognised, the only way to approach them is through treating the world as phenomenon rather than object.

8. There is only space here to indicate trajectories for future work, but I think that the readings that I am proposing can act as exemplary figures for the larger debates onto which they open. My central point will be that much of the work on the orality of early modern English literature (and this also includes certain of the questions about performance with regard to dramatic texts) repeats a very familiar opposition of speech and writing that the texts that are purportedly being read complicate. The confusion of the senses that my title indicates acts as a marker of a difficulty that has to be attended to by early modern criticism.

René Girard, the Master of Mimetism

11 12 2010

It has been crucial in order to develope this paper, the studies about Mimetism carried out by René Girard, that is why I think it is important to tell something about his work because it is extremelly related to the topic of this paper.

René Girard (born December 25, 1923, Avignon, France) is a French historian, literary critic, and philosopher of social science. His work belongs to the tradition of anthropological philosophy. He is the author of several books , in which he developed the following ideas:

1. mimetic desire: imitation is an aspect of behaviour that not only affects learning but also desire, and imitated desire is a cause of conflict,

2. the scapegoat mechanism is the origin of sacrifice and the foundation of human culture, and religion was necessary in human evolution to control the violence that can come from mimetic rivalry,

3. the Bible reveals the two previous ideas and denounces the scapegoat mechanism.
René Girard’s writings cover many areas. Although the reception of his work is different in each of these areas, there is a growing body of secondary literature that uses his hypotheses and ideas in the areas of literary criticism, critical theory, anthropology, theology, psychology, mythology, sociology, economics, cultural studies, and philosophy.

Another source of contention is Girard’s seeming to have left no role for beneficial imitation. Rebecca Adams argues that because Girard’s theories fixate on violence, he creates a ‘scapegoat’ himself with his own theory: the scapegoat of positive mimesis. Adams proposes a reassessment of Girard’s theory that includes an account of loving mimesis or, as she prefers to call it, creative mimesis. Some say there is also a good mimesis in the thought of Girard, for instance the imitation of Jesus. Another possible instance is the imitation of the “external mediation” when the model is “far” from me as, for instance, Amadis in Cervantes’s Don Quixote. In this last case, it is not a “good” imitation, but some “Girardians” point out the positive aspects of external mediation. Jean-Michel Oughourlian takes the example of the imitation of a politician: “The imitation can be totally peaceful and beneficial; I don’t believe that I am the other, I don’t want to take his place […] This imitation can lead me to become sensitive to the social and political problems…” It is also possible to quote this sentence from a short presentation of Girard’s theory: “(…) Young children imitate their teachers as closely as possible and are even encouraged to do so, but within an educational frame that maintains a certain distance between subject and model, prohibiting confusion. If many little girls want to become schoolmistress, it is later, and all is in this ‘later’.”

Mimetism and Loving Mimesis

11 12 2010

For our paper now it is important to define the term Mimesis (μίμησις from μιμεîσθαι) in its simplest context means “imitation” or “representation” in Greek. Both Plato and Aristotle recognized it as an important component of art and aesthetics. However, while Plato gave it a negative assessment based on his realism of Ideas, Aristotle gave it a more favorable and comprehensive analysis within the contexts of diverse art forms.
A significant example of the intuitive use of this poetic function is the pantomime or play-within-the-play in Shakespeare’s Hamlet: The acknowledged aim is to provoke Claudius and expose his guilt. But at the same time, this will be the only action Hamlet will be able to take. It dramatizes his inner conflict: Through it, he both achieves the murderous desire and identifies with the murderer.
In the science of [humanity] and culture today there is a unilateral swerve away from anything that could be called mimicry, imitation, or mimesis. And yet there is nothing, or next to nothing, in human behavior that is not learned, and all learning is based on imitation. If human beings suddenly ceased imitating, all forms of culture would vanish. Neurologists remind us frequently that the human brain is an enormous imitating machine. To develop a science of [humanity] it is necessary to compare human imitation with animal mimicry, and to specify the properly human modalities of mimetic behavior, if they indeed exist. –René Girard, 1978

Imitation is often thought of as a low-level, cognitively undemanding, even childish form of behavior, but recent work across a variety of sciences argues that imitation is a rare ability that is fundamentally linked to characteristically human forms of intelligence, in particular to language, culture, and the ability to understand other minds. This burgeoning body of work has important implications for our understanding of ourselves, both individually and socially. Imitation is not just an important factor in human development, it also has a pervasive influence throughout adulthood in ways we are just beginning to understand… –Susan Hurley & Nick Chater, 2005

Perhaps at this point we have finally reached the deeper reason why Girard hasn’t been writing much about positive mimesis until now. As far as possible, he tries to argue on the levels of anthropology and sociology. And in order to get to positive mimesis one has to go beyond these levels, as a quotation from I See Satan Fall like Lightning indicates: “To break the power of [violent] mimetic unanimity, we must postulate a power superior to violent contagion. If we have learned one thing in this study, it is that none exists on earth.” Girard, I See Satan Fall Like Lightning, 189.

• Mimetic desire, meaning the openness of the human person to what is human and to what is divine, has its theological counterpart in the capacity for transcendence that is given to the human person as creational grace. Thus, it is intrinsically good. However, since God is not directly accessible to humans, mimetic desire can easily be perverted.
• Negative mimesis can theologically be understood in the context of a humankind affected by original sin. As acquisitive mimesis, it aims at taking the place of the model—ultimately at taking the place of God. Thus, rivalry and violence are quasi-predetermined.
• The question of how positive mimesis can emerge in a world distorted by violent imitation can hardly be answered without entering the theological fields of soteriology and grace. Positive mimesis is based upon God’s [End Page 10] prevenient grace. Thus, to explain positive mimesis we need to have recourse to theological categories.
As a matter of fact, the origins of mimesis within the mechanism by which subjectivity is created. Although she does not ascribe to this mechanism a developmental context, she does call the subject of mimesis a “proto-subject,” explaining that a subject’s “subjectivity is unformed or incomplete prior to the act of imitation.”

First A Midsummer Night’s Dream Video

11 12 2010

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