Sederi 26 — 2016
Francisco J. Borge López
María José Mora
Mª Luisa Pascual Garrido, “Re-humanising Coriolanus: Community and the ethical self.” SEDERI 26 (2016): 85–107.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.34136/sederi.2016.4 Download PDF
In this article I analyse subjectivity in Coriolanus taking as a starting point the traditional antagonism between essentialist humanism and cultural materialism. While mainstream humanism has approached Shakespeare’s plays stressing the transcendental nature and autonomy of the subject, cultural materialism has challenged that assumption by underscoring the actual lack of freedom of the individual whose actual choices are determined not by the inherent nature of the hero but by social and political forces. My aim is to try to bridge the gap between two seemingly divergent ways of understanding subjectivity by adopting a more sceptical form of humanism, which is based on both the acceptance of the limits and the vulnerability of human beings (Mousley 2007) and recent developments in communitarian theory and biopolitics (Nancy 1991, Agambem 1995, Butler 2006, Esposito 2012). I contend that Coriolanus is an embodiment of humanity, a singular being capable of making an ethical choice at the risk of his own death.
Keywords: William Shakespeare; Coriolanus; subjectivity; humanity; ethical community; vulnerability; singularity of being.
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