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Chapter 20 - Love

Sonnets, A Midsummer Night’s Dream

from Part II - Emotions

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 October 2020

Katharine A. Craik
Affiliation:
Oxford Brookes University
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Summary

This chapter argues that while Shakespeare has no single or overarching theory or view of love, specific patterns or tendencies are evident in both the plays and the poems. It focuses on three characteristics of such a disposition: the singularity of the beloved (‘you are you’) that admits of no substitute; the essentially projective rather than reactive vision of love (‘love sees not with the eyes but with the mind’); and the perhaps counterintuitive fact that love is not an emotion as such, but rather a disposition or form of behaviour that involves different, sometimes contradictory, emotions. This puts Shakespeare at odds with contemporary, Galenic theories of love as one of the most volatile of the passions. The Sonnets, for example, are virtually devoid of references to contemporary psychology, and the chapter focusses on these poems to explore the rich varieties of emotion they express in their complex and fraught negotiations of love and desire. Classifying and arranging the sonnets in accordance with the emotions expressed in them furthermore does not accord with the usual narrative attributed to them.

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Shakespeare and Emotion , pp. 288 - 301
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2020

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  • Love
  • Edited by Katharine A. Craik, Oxford Brookes University
  • Book: Shakespeare and Emotion
  • Online publication: 01 October 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108235952.023
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  • Love
  • Edited by Katharine A. Craik, Oxford Brookes University
  • Book: Shakespeare and Emotion
  • Online publication: 01 October 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108235952.023
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • Love
  • Edited by Katharine A. Craik, Oxford Brookes University
  • Book: Shakespeare and Emotion
  • Online publication: 01 October 2020
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108235952.023
Available formats
×