This article complicates scholarship on Macbeth that understands political attachment in terms of an autonomous subject and attributes Macbeth’s demise to an over-susceptibility to natural or supernatural forces. By putting early modern accounts of the humoral constitution of the night air in conversation with modern theories of apostrophe, I argue that the Macbeths’ experiences of night theorise political action as inseparable from the nonhuman forces in the play. Shakespeare reworks his source material to explore the borders of the human, imagining a more complex relationship between treasonous violence and the darkness that enshrouds Scotland.
Jeffrey B. Griswold
Examining Behavioural Reactions in Brian Friel's <em>Give Me Your Answer, Do!</em> and Eimear McBride's <em>A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing</em>
This article compares Brian Friel’s play Give Me Your Answer, Do! with Eimear McBride’s novel A Girl Is a Half-formed Thing to inquire into why the characters react to their traumas with seemingly aberrant behaviours. These two modern Irish works seem to suggest that the characters find a devious, physical way of self-preservation when combatting their extremely powerless state of traumatisation, which exposes our conflicting drives in the face of trauma: although trauma is mostly associated with death drive towards self-destruction, we cannot overlook its connection to life drive. By analysing these traumatised characters’ bodies as the very platform on which the symbiosis of the two opposing instincts is staged, this article explores trauma’s indelible impacts on the body and the body’s troubled resilience.
Amanda Bonnick, Yousif M. Qasmiyeh, and Theophilus Kwek
High Seas, by Amanda Bonnick
My Life Is a Shadow of a Faraway Incident, by Fakhry Ratrout. Translated by Yousif M. Qasmiyeh and Theophilus Kwek
It is important to stress that Arab women writers have produced a new kaleidoscope of narrative fiction in English. They focus on a variety of representations with respect to identity, dislocation, cultural hybridity and belonging. Moreover they have tried to construct a stable subjectivity and a space of belonging. These narratives are now dispersed and relocated by Arab women diasporic novelists such as Hala Alyan. This article will examine Hala Alyan’s 2017 novel, Salt Houses. This debut novel has amalgamated different narrative experimentations and techniques, and how polyphonic spaces have dislocated the conventional act of narration and relocated it in tandem with the non-homogeneity of the Arab world itself.
Dermot Bolger’s 2015 novel Tanglewood is one of a raft of literary responses to the demise of Ireland’s recent economic ‘miracle’, the so-called ‘Celtic Tiger’. Bolger’s narrative is deeply critical of the corrupted morality that characterised facets of the property ‘boom’, a corner of the Irish economy that underlay such a significant part of the economic buoyancy of the country. Consequently, Bolger mobilises shame as one part of his critical armoury, and in so doing he resurrects a familiar affect in the Irish context. However, Bolger’s use of shame, and his suggestion that those who benefited most lavishly during Ireland’s Celtic Tiger period should be shamed, and feel ashamed, are deeply conservative and self-defeating ways of confronting the aftermath of the economic recession in Ireland. As we note, Bolger’s version of shame causes little more than personal isolation and familial fracture, and lacks any potential to partake of what we shall term ‘a revolutionary politics of shame’.
Aquatic Imagery and Ecocritical Complexity in <em>Titus Andronicus</em>
This article revives the agency of Lavinia in Titus Andronicus through a blended ecocritical and complexivist approach. A ‘blue’ ecocritical lens identifies Lavinia’s alignment with aquatic imagery, and tracks the development of this imagery across four main phases in the play: human tears, a river, a flood, and a freeze. These phases broadly map onto different modes of ecological relations as the play explores alternative patterns of human–environmental interactions. Lavinia is reinterpreted as an active and independent complex ecosystem, and one capable of communicating through the same aquatic imagery which is utilised in the narrative to attempt to contain and commodify her. Titus’s aquatic discourse finds parallels in our own climate crises, in ongoing problematic associations between women and nature, and in our need to generate new models of agency and ecological relations.
Stuart Hampshire and the Normality of Conflict
By way of an engagement with the thought of Stuart Hampshire and his account of the ‘normality of conflict’, this article articulates a novel distinction between two models of value pluralism. The first model identifies social and political conflict as the consequence of pluralism, whereas the second identifies pluralism as the consequence of social and political conflict. Failure to recognise this distinction leads to confusion about the implications of value pluralism for contemporary public ethics. The article illustrates this by considering the case of toleration. It contends that Hampshire’s model of pluralism offers a new perspective on the problem of toleration and illuminates a new way of thinking about the accommodation of diversity as ‘civility within conflict’.
Responding to Dirty Hands in Politics
How should citizens respond to dirty-hands acts? This issue has been neglected in the theoretical literature, which has focused on the dilemma facing the politician and not on the appropriate responses of citizens. Nevertheless, dirty-hands scenarios pose a serious dilemma for the democratic citizens as well: we cannot simply condone the dirtyhanded act but should instead express our moral condemnation and disapproval. One way of doing this is through blame and punishment. However, this proposal is unsatisfactory, as dirty-hands agents commit wrongdoing through no fault of their own. I argue that we ought to make conceptual space for an idea of no-fault responsibility – and a corresponding notion of no-fault forgiveness – according to which we can hold agents to obligations without blaming them.
Derek Edyvane and Demetris Tillyris
‘The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing’. -Archilochus quoted in Berlin, The Hedgehog and the Fox, 22
The fragment from the Greek poet Archilochus, quoted in Isaiah Berlin’s essay ‘The Hedgehog and the Fox’, serves as a metaphor for the long-standing contrast and rivalry between two radically different approaches to public ethics, each of which is couched in a radically different vision of the structure of moral value. On the one hand, the way of the hedgehog corresponds to the creed of value monism, reflecting a faith in the ultimate unity of the moral universe and belief in the singularity, tidiness and completeness of moral and political purposes. On the other hand, the way of the fox corresponds to the nemesis of monism, the philosophical tradition of value pluralism, to which this collection of essays is devoted. This dissenting countermovement, which emerges most clearly in the writings of Isaiah Berlin, Stuart Hampshire, Bernard Williams and John Gray, is fuelled by an appreciation of the perpetuity of plurality and conflict and, correspondingly, by the conviction that visions of moral unity and harmony are incoherent and implausible. In the view of the value pluralists, ‘there is no completeness and no perfection to be found in morality’ (Hampshire 1989a: 177).
Q1 Hamlet (1603) routinely sets prose speeches so that they appear to be blank verse. This article argues that such was an attempt to confer prestige upon the text, particularly in the wake of the saturation of Shakespeare books on the literary marketplace around 1600 – a phenomenon that saw his prose works achieve less favour than those in pentameter. The publishers of Q1 Merry Wives (1602) and Q1 Hamlet may have hedged their bets on these Shakespeare texts by amplifying their verse, long the gold standard of the Shakespearean brand. Like The True Tragedie of Richard III (published 1594) and The Famous Victories of Henry V (entered 1594), which presented their opening pages to readers as iambic pentameter, Q1 Hamlet seems to have beautified its dialogue for readers in the early modern book marketplace.