A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM: REGULATING DESIRE IN THE EMERGING MODERN STATE


Posted On Dec 11 2017 by

The incipient secularisation that takes place in early Modern times brings into focus the issue of governability. How to control individual behaviours as well as social ones becomes of paramount importance to the settlement and legitimisation of a state that, after the Reformation, can no longer lay its authority on a divine entity. Nor is religion a benchmark against which to measure individual wishes. Once desire is unleashed, it becomes as liberating as threatening to both individual and social existence as shown by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Love among young characters disrupts social organization as desire unfolds limitlessly, to the extent it places their lives at risk. Under these circumstances, the dream becomes the key ally of the Modern State: it organises behaviours without necessarily repressing the desire that has caused them. The oneiric experience acquires a compromising feature, which this paper will examine by studying the juxtaposition between the natural and civil spheres as well as the tragic presence that haunts the comedy.

Last Updated on: December 11th, 2017 at 1:00 P, by admin


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