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ANALYSING THE DISCOURSE OF SHAKESPEAREAN

TRAGEDY

EMAD ABD ELKAREEM MOH’D ALQADUMI

THESIS SUBMITTED IN FULFILLMENT


OF THE REQUIREMENTS
FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
FACULTY OF ARTS AND SOCIAL SCIENCES
UNIVERSITY OF MALAYA
KUALA LUMPUR
2010

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II

Abstract
Attempts to deconstruct Shakespearean Tragedy mostly fail and serve the
system which supports this tragedy because those who are trapped in it fail to realize its
real nature which resembles the Greek view of the world. The Greek saw the world as
an order or a system outside which lies only chaos. In this system, as the Greek
believed, a simple mistake or sin, which Aristotle called hamartia, can be repaired like
repairing the dropping of a single stitch in a cloth. Since the attempts to deconstruct
Shakespearean Tragedy have been like dropping single stitches that can be cunningly
repaired: this dissertation tries to dismantle the whole system that supports this tragedy
by showing the similarities between Greek and Shakespearean Tragedy and arguing that
the attempt to explain them by philosophers and imaginary communities in England,
Europe, or the world will finally fail because the sign they are trying to represent lies
outside representation. Even words like ‘knowledge,’ ‘academy,’ ‘critic,’ ‘philosopher,’
and ‘Shakespeare’ which constitute the system, dignify the search for the meaning of
Shakespearean Tragedy, and provide it with life are only signs that lie outside
representation. This dissertation, by exposing the reality of Shakespearean Tragedy,
returns to the academy, knowledge, critics, philosophers, what it borrows from them,
signs and representations.

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III

Abstrak
Percubaan untuk mengupas Tragedi Shakespeare sering kali gagal dan
menyumbang kepada sistem yang menyokong tragedi ini kerana mereka yang
terperangkap di dalamnya gagal mengenali sifat sebenarnya yang serupa dengan
pandangan orang Yunani terhadap dunia. Orang Yunani melihat dunia sebagai satu
aturan ataupun satu sistem di mana di luarnya hanya terdapat keadaan huru hara. Di
dalam sistem ini, seperti yang dipercayai orang Yunani, satu kesalahan atau dosa, yang
digelar hamartia oleh Aristotle, boleh dibetulkan seperti membetulkan jahitan di atas
kain. Oleh kerana percubaan mengupas tragedi Shakespear boleh diibaratkan jahitan-
jahitan yang boleh diperbetulkan dengan bijak, disertasi ini berusaha untuk merungkai
seluruh sistem yang menyokong tragedi ini dengan menunjukkan persamaaan di antara
Tragedi Shakespear dan Yunani dan mempertikaikan bahawa usaha untuk
menjelaskannya oleh ahli falsafah dan komuniti khayalan di England, Eropah, atau di
dunia akan berakhir dengan kegagalan kerana lambang yang mereka cuba wakilkan
terletak di luar perwakilan. Malah perkataan-perkataan seperti ‘pengetahuan’,
‘akademi’,’pengkritik’, ‘ahli falsafah’ dan ‘Shakespeare’ yang membentuk sistem itu,
yang memartabatkan pencarian makna di sebalik Tragedi Shakespeare, dan yang
memberinya nafas hanyalah lambang-lambang yang terletak di luar perwakilan.
Disertasi ini, dengan mendedahkan realiti Tragedi Shakespeare, mengembalikan kepada
akademi, pengetahuan, pengkritik, ahli-ahli falsafah, apa yang dipinjamkan daripada
mereka, lambang-lambang dan perwakilan.

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IV

Acknowledgements

I wish to extend my gratitude to my mother whose ceaseless love, support, and

patience have always been my inspiration.

I would like also to extend special gratitude and sincerest thanks to my

supervisor Professor Lim, who proved to be capable of supervising not only a discourse

written in favour of a Shakespearean Tragedy, but a counter-discourse that visits such a

tragedy with irony and disfavour.

Finally, I would like to thank Professor Stephen Greenblatt, a juggler, who

taught me in our endless conversations how to juggle and ‘drink with any tinker in his

own language.’

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V

Contents

Abstract ….…………………….…………………………………………………….. II

Abstrak ….…………………….…………………………………………………….. III

Acknowledgments ….. ………………………………………………………….….... IV

Table of Contents …….………………………………………………..………….… V

Chapter One: Introduction ………………………………………………………….… 1

I.1 Introduction to the Introduction …………………………………………... 1


I.2 The Nature of the Circulating Knowledge ………………………………... 5
I.3 Literature Review …………………………………………...…………….. 8
1.4 Purpose of the Study ………………………………………………………12
1.5 Methodology ………………………………………………………………15
I.6 Limitations …………………..………………………………………....… 19
I.7 Chapter Survey ………………………………………………………..….. 25

Chapter Two: Analysing the Discourse of Discourse ………………………………... 35

II.1 The Circulation of Discourse Analysis ………………………………….. 35


II.2 History of Technical Definitions of ‘Discourse ………………………..… 36
II.3 Analysing the Definitions of Discourse ………………………………...... 38
II. 3. 1 Discourse as a Dialogue ………………………………………..…. 40
II. 3. 2 Discourse as an Influential Utterance …………………………..…. 42
II. 3. 3 Discourse as an Institutional Utterance ……………..…………….. 43
II.4 Discourse and Shakespearean Tragedy ……………………..…………… 47
II.5 Discourse and Ideology …………………………………..……………… 49
II.6 The Constituents of Discourse ……………………………………..……. 51
II.6.1 The Episteme ………………………………………………….…… 53
II. 6. 2 The Statement ……………………………………………….……. 62
II. 6. 3 The Archive …………………………………….………………… 64

Chapter Three: Poets, Orators and Deception (Unearthing the Concealed Aporia) … 68
III.1 The Politics of Representation …………………………………………………. 68
III.2 Plato’s Onslaught on Tragedy ………………………………………………….. 72
III.3 Aristotle’s Defense of Tragedy ………………………………………………… 75
III.4. The Tragic Aporia …………………………………………………………….. 82
III.5 Institutionalising the Tragedy …………………………………………………. 86
III.6 Perception and Deception in the Iago and the Othello Cultures ………………. 92

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VI

Chapter Four: Shakespeare as the Subject of Aristotle’s Discourse on Tragedy …... 101
IV.1 Introduction …………………………………………………………..………. 101
IV.2 The Structure of Tragedy ………………………………………………..……. 104
IV.3 From the Beautiful to the Sublime ……………………………………..……... 106
IV.4 The purpose of tragedy ……………………………………………………….. 111
IV.5. The Nature of the Tragic Protagonist …………………………………………117
IV.6. The tragic Flaw ………………………………………………………………..127
IV.7. Recognition …………………………………………………………………... 134

Chapter Five: Totus Mundus Agit Histrionem ……………………………………..137


V.1. Introduction …………………………………………………………………....137
V.2. The play within a play in the Greenblatt Theatre ……………………………..146
V.3 Energy ………………………………………………………………………….155
V.4. Theatre …………………………………………………………………………159

Chapter Six: Conclusion (The Book of Revelations) ………………………………168


VI.1 Introducing the Conclusion …………………………………………………….168
VI.2 The Common Model and ‘the Single-Change Formula’ ………………………170
VI.3 The common model and the ‘Generative Formula’ ……………………………175
VI.4 The Common Model and the ‘Genus-species-transfer Formula’ .......………....179
VI.5 The Common Model and ‘the Skeletal-expansion Formula’ ………………….188

Bibliography …………………………………………………………………………199

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