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Ovid and Adaptation in Early Modern English Theatre$
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Lisa S. Starks

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474430067

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474430067.001.0001

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Appropriating Ovid’s Tyrannical Raptures in Macbeth

Appropriating Ovid’s Tyrannical Raptures in Macbeth

Chapter:
(p.163) Chapter 9 Appropriating Ovid’s Tyrannical Raptures in Macbeth
Source:
Ovid and Adaptation in Early Modern English Theatre
Author(s):

John D. Staines

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9781474430067.003.0010

In contrast to Titus Andronicus, Macbeth adapts few Ovidian sources; nonetheless, the play reveals how completely the mature Shakespeare appropriates Ovid’s poetics, especially the element of raptus, seizing and being seized. Macbeth himself is the body rapt, and raped, as he experiences the sublime terror of being swept up and violated by forces at the edge of human understanding. The tyrant is both the rapist and the raped, seized by passions he cannot, or will not, control, tortured in “restless ecstasy” that drives him to greater violations. Using the rhizome and assemblage of Deleuze and Guattari, and the hauntology of Derrida, this chapter sees Shakespeare, Ovid, and human culture as fragmentary records of violent appropriations and traumatized ghosts haunting past, present, and future. The uncanny, spectral experiences Maurizio Calbi finds in postmodern Shakespearean adaptations are thus intensifications of experiences Shakespeare found in Ovid and made central to his art.

Keywords:   Ovid, Shakespeare, Golding, Metamorphoses, Fasti, Macbeth, rape, ghosts, haunting, appropriation

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