Sederi 19 — 2009
Francisco José Borge López
Lorena Laureano Domínguez, “Pericles’ ‘unknown travels’: The dimensions of geography in Shakespeare’s Pericles.” SEDERI 19 (2009): 73-99.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.34136/sederi.2009.4 Download PDF
The present essay explores the complex notion of geography and its manifold implications in Shakespeare’s first romance, Pericles. It will be argued that the role of geography and travelling in the play cannot be reduced to a mere formal strategy. In the play’s treatment and representation of geography, psychological, moral and political aspects intertwine. Thus Pericles can be understood simultaneously as an individual’s life journey, as a spiritual journey, and even as an exploration of different forms of government and power. Taking as a point of departure John Gillies’ concept of “geographic imagination” and Freud’s notion of “the uncanny,” I will focus on the psychological meaning and on the poetic and dramatic effectiveness of the author’s imaginative use of geography. Examination of the different locations demonstrates that, beyond their existence as specific external spaces, they are relevant as inner mental entities informing Pericles’ experience and acquiring meaning within the hero’s microcosm. With a special emphasis on the incest scene, it will be contended that in Pericles the geographical and the psychological fuse and that geographical locations work as different layers of the psyche. Geography will be analysed in relation to plot and characters, always taking into consideration its allegorical, psychological and poetic dimensions.
Keywords: Shakespeare; Pericles; geography; space; psychoanalysis; barbarian; the uncanny.
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