Pascale Drouet
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Assuming otherness, or the spiral of degradation
in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
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Chapter 8 studies how one experiences otherness (a displacement of social identity) in one’s own country (inner exile), facing a fall in status and humiliation (eating what is not edible, suffering from infamy and lack of charity) and, at times, facing ‘uncanny’ situations. This chapter shows how the dynamic of deviation is soon transformed into a dynamic of humiliation and degradation, and how one tumbles down the social ladder. Making a detour via a debasing form of otherness while staying in one’s homeland amounts to experiencing not what is elsewhere but what lies at the bottom, to hitting rock bottom at home. The horizontal dynamic of (external) exile gives way to the vertical dynamic of (internal) degradation, also raising the question of whether one can recover from it. Fall in status, humiliating punishment, refusal of hospitality, denial of charity and dietary degradation posing a threat to sanity are generally experienced when the exile finds himself in a hostile foreign territory. Yet the internal exile suffers from the same dynamic of debasement in his homeland, and there may be certain similarities with facing the sudden appearance of the ‘uncanny’.

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Shakespeare and the denial of territory

Banishment, abuse of power and strategies of resistance


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