So(u)le-talk, self, and stages of the soul

in William Shakespeare and John Donne
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This short concluding chapter brings together the analysis of Donne’s Holy Sonnets and Shakespeare’s The Rape of Lucrece in the context of poetry and drama, the soliloquy and the soul. The correlative of the self-division into body and soul is the communicative situation of the soliloquy. The speakers in both texts become observers of what is going on within them, which creates distances from as well as involvement with what is being witnessed. The soul becomes a stage and it appears on the stage of the theatre. Thus, the self begins to establish and define itself in a complex interplay of interiority and theatrical exposure both in poetry and the theatre. It is the soul that provides the link between self and (literary) self-expression, and the soliloquy provides a communicative mode that allowed writers to form this self-expression.

William Shakespeare and John Donne

Stages of the soul in early modern English poetry



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