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Title: Shakespeare's influence on Marx, Freud and the Frankfurt school critical theorists
Author: Smith, Christian
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2012
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Through their influence on Karl Marx and Sigmund Freud, Shakespeare’s plays had a formative influence on the development of Marxism and psychoanalysis and the methodology of Frankfurt School Critical Theory. Marx and Freud quoted from or alluded to Shakespeare’s plays hundreds of times in their writings. Many of these instances occur at significant points in the development of Marxism and psychoanalysis. Marx used lines from The Merchant of Venice and Timon of Athens to develop his economic theory and his theory of consciousness. Freud used his reading of Hamlet to develop his theory of the Oedipus complex. He also personally identified with Hamlet the literary hero. Freud used his reading of the casket scene in The Merchant of Venice to begin to develop his notion of the death-drive; he rehearses his thinking about the death-drive in his essay about the casket scene, seven years before he publically presents the death-drive theory. Two methods that developed out of the influence of Shakespeare on Marx and Freud—inversions and the re-inclusion of the other/a method of relating to alterity—became the methodology of Frankfurt School Critical Theory. The dialectic was the philosophical ground through which the influence travelled. In this manner, Shakespeare’s influence became the roots of the Frankfurt School’s dialectical aesthetic theory.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HX Socialism. Communism. Anarchism ; PR English literature