The limits of endurance and the signs of exhaustion
in Shakespeare and the denial of territory
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This chapter addresses the notions of limits, duration and torment. How do we know that the limits of endurance have reached a point of no return? What are the physical and psychic symptoms of exhaustion? Why do ‘tutors of resilience’, as Boris Cyrulnik calls them (such as Cordelia and Edgar in King Lear), fail to intuit these limits? This chapter shows how endurance is closely associated with the experience of duration. When time is experienced as interminable, the one who endures comes to evoke either a dead man before his time or a victim of torture, or even a miraculous survivor. This chapter suggests that, in King Lear, Edgar and Cordelia, and Kent to a lesser extent, serve as ‘tutors of resilience’ for Gloucester and Lear, even if they fail in the end. It suggests that the dynamic of ‘deterritorialisation’ entails a reflection upon the failure of understanding or, at least, the failure to take into account the vulnerability of the human condition.

Shakespeare and the denial of territory

Banishment, abuse of power and strategies of resistance

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