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 Volume 17/1, includes forum "Narrative Selves"
 January 2019

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 Quick Article Search

   Newest Articles

 Response Essay
 Monika Fludernik

 Experience, Affect, and Literary Lists
 Eva von Contzen

 Posthuman Narration as a Test Bed for Experientiality
 Marco Caracciolo

 The Curse of Realism
 Karin Kukkonen

 More than Minds
 Jonas Grethlein

 Toward the Non-Natural
 Maria Mäkelä

 Two Conceptions of Experientiality and Narrativity
 Dan Shen

 Against Nature
 Brian McHale

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Updated Up To 26/06/2018
Volume 14, Issue 2 (June 2016) : 217-236
Incest, Zoophilia, and Greed for Power in Tang Xianzu and Shakespeare

Chen Maoqing
Rubric A: Episodes in the History of Ideas
Rubric B: Drama

Abstract

 

Both William Shakespeare (1564–1616) and his contemporary Chinese counterpart Tang Xianzu (1550–1616) explore three types of human lust — incest, zoophilia and greed for power but show remarkable disparities in the ways of treating them. Shakespearean plays and western classical drama in general present more severe forms of incest, whereas Tang Xianzu’s works and traditional Chinese drama as a whole are quite free from incest between blood relatives, which is muted as an abhorred violation of Confucian principles guiding family life. By contrast, Tang Xianzu demonstrates tolerance of zoophilia; whereas Shakespeare’s oblique evocation of zoophilia in A Midsummer Night’s Dream reflects his culture’s intolerance of bestiality. In regard to greed for power, Tang Xianzu’s protagonists never have political ambitions that go beyond the position of prime minister, showing no covetous desire for the throne; Shakespeare, however, includes several incidents of regicide in his plays. The paper points to the difference in the cultural contexts of the two masters lived that to a large extent determine the difference in their ways of representing these forms of lust.


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