BARGAINS with FATE (Part 1)


PREVIOUS : “4 Games People Play”

SITE : “The SELF” 


⬅️ “Bargains with Fate : Psychological Crises & Conflicts in Shakespeare’s Plays”

– Bernard J. Paris & Theodore I. Rubin (2009)

In this work, Bernard J. Paris, an eminent Shakespearean scholar, shows how Shakespeare endowed his tragic heroes with familiar inner conflicts & enduring human qualities that make them relevant to people of any era.
Paris uses a psychoanalytic approach inspired by Karen Horney’s theories to analyze 4 major personality types, representative of the Bard’s other works. The author’s combination of literary & psychoanalytic perspectives provides a deeper understanding of human behavior.

The PROBLEM : Shakespeare’s characters are in a state of crisis because their Bargains with Fate have failed – the false belief that they can (magically) control their destinies by living up to the ‘rules’ of their defensive strategies.

FROM Dr. Paris Into (pgs 15 – 32)  The most familiar type of Bargaining is for a person to promise to reform their behavior when they’ve gotten themself in trouble (after the fact), &/or to perform some act of contrition  / self-restriction, to prevent punishment from the ‘powers that be’

“….but this type of Bargains-with-Fate are those in which we believe we can control fate by living up to its presumed dictates – not after it grants our wishes – but before. If we think, feel & behave the way we are supposed to – we will receive our just deserts, whatever we may think they are. Fate is often conceived of as God, but our bargains can be with ourselves, other people, or impersonal forces in the universe as we see it.

The terms of the bargains are not really determined by external forces, but dictated by our own defensive strategies. Bargaining is primarily a magical process conforming to impossible lofty demands of whichever neurotic defense we choose (Horney called “private religion”) that will enable us to attain those impossible lofty goals.” (MORE ….. ‘inside’)

Unfortunately for this kind of bargainer – sooner or later their ‘deal’ always crashes & burns, causing great suffering. Yet many people refuse to give up the fantasy wishes & hopes of the Idealized Self (I.S) & live in perpetual disappointment.

a. used to deal with feelings of fear, isolation, helplessness, hostility, powerlessness….
b. used against both deep insecurity & vague anxiety

1. Self-effacing / Compliant
2. Aggressive / Expansive :
– a. Narcissist
– b. Perfectionist
– c. Vindictive
3. Detached / Resigned
(full CHART in Part 2)


⬇️  OUTLINE re. the 4 CHARACTERS (pgs 35-177)

▫️H & the Ghost / ▫️H’s conflicts in Act 2
▫️H’s Problem: “This too too solid flesh”
▫️H’s Conflicts : “To be or not to Be” /  “Get thee to a nunnery” /
“Yet have I in me something dangerous”
▫️The closet scene /  ▫️ More Oscillations
▫️In the hands of providence / ▫️ Wish-fulfillment end

▫️Iago’s character / ▫️ Iago’s crisis
▫️Psychological Functions of Iago’s Plot
▫️Othello’s Triumph / ▫️ Othello’s Vulnerability
▫️Othello’s Transformation / ▫️ An Honorable murder?
▫️ Bewitched Desdemona : “The Inclining Desdemona”
/ “His scorn I approve” /  “Who hath done this deed?”

▫️The Love test  / ▫️ Cordelia’s Compulsiveness
▫️Collapse of Lear’s Fantasy / ▫️To Plainness Honor Bound
▫️Rhetoric vs. Mimesis  / ▫️ Blows & Defenses
▫️”In such a night as this!” / ▫️Unaccommodated Man”
▫️Lear & “Poor Tom” / ▫️”Let Copulation Thrive
▫️Paradise Regained  / ▫️ Spiritual rebirth?
▫️”All Cheerless, Dark & Deadly”
▫️Death of Cordelia / Conclusion

M’s Inner conflicts – before the murder
▫️Macbeth & Lady Macbeth
▫️M’s Inner conflicts – after the murder
▫️The murder of Banquo / ▫️M’s Transformation
▫️The villain as Hero / ▫️ The Death of Macbeth

NEXT: POWER – 4 Types of BIZ Politics (#1)

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