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Abstract

The topic of this dissertation is a problem of philosophical psychology and its relation to Shakespeare’s The Tempest. The problem concerns a capacity of the human subject to fall into a disordered relationship to the world in general: a misalignment of inside and outside in which the individual no longer experiences themselves as “part of” the world the same way as they had previously. In the wake of a traumatic loss, for example, a person might find herself psychologically “uncoupled” from external reality in a manner that had not been true prior to the event. This form of trouble can be called a crisis of integration. I begin by laying out a theory of mind based largely on the work of the psychoanalytic thinker Hans Loewald that provides a framework for conceptualising this difficulty, and I argue that within Shakespeare's work Hamlet and The Tempest can be fruitfully read as two contrasting treatments of the theme. One of the features that distinguishes The Tempest, however, is that the play takes a more holistic approach to the representation of this problem, by which I mean that, beyond the psychology depicted in its various characters, some of the basic components of the play's design (such as the island setting, the confounding first scene, the presence of magic, and the division between two locations) together produce a deeper and more imagistic mode of thought about this phenomenon. An important unity within The Tempest is thereby revealed.

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