This article probes the ability of Shakespearean drama to provide expressive resources for coming to terms (conceptually, discursively) with current crises. These include both the power games of global finance, and those disasters that ostensibly concern other strands of geopolitics. The article focuses on two plays, The Comedy of Errors and Pericles, the actions of which unfold in the eastern Mediterranean – an area of the world associated, in the late modern imagination, either with mobility as pleasure (mass tourism and its apparatus) or mobility as crisis (disputed territories, the plight of displaced populations). It highlights the close bonds between prevalent modes – satire and farce in The Comedy of Errors, romance in Pericles – and the plays’ distinct strategies for representing human mobility: the sense of agency proper to acquisitive urges, the victimhood of forced displacement.
Rui Carvalho Homem is professor of English at the University of Oporto, Portugal (Universidade do Porto). He has published extensively on contemporary early modern English drama, Irish poetry, and intermediality. As a literary translator, he has published versions of works by Shakespeare, Marlowe, Seamus Heaney and Philip Larkin.