“Shakespeare’s Us”

  Goethe said, “Shakespeare’s criticism is endless”. Since the birth of Shakespeare’s plays, the research on the evaluation of Shakespeare has never stopped. The establishment of Shakespeare’s artistic status is not only due to its enduring artistic charm, but also thanks to endless Shakespeare reviews. A great work lies in its possibility of being constantly given new meanings. T. S. Eliot said about Shakespeare’s interpretation: “For a man as great as Shakespeare, it is likely that we will never be right; since we If it is never right, then we should always change our wrong way.” The Jewish critic Fiedler’s Shakespeare monograph “The Stranger in Shakespeare’s Writings” (hereinafter referred to as “The Stranger”) criticizes Shakespeare’s writings with mythological prototypes. Strangers elaborated, and Fiedler’s rich imagination and insightful and novel viewpoints provided new possibilities for the study of Shakespeare. The contemporary critic Charles Morse Worth believed that The Stranger “can be read as the author’s most important critical statement, the boldest book ever written about the boldest artist”. It is an extension and summary of Fiedler’s critical work, and it is of great value to Fiedler’s research. By linking The Stranger with Fiedler’s lifelong critical career, this article explores the concluding role of this book in Fiedler’s critical career, in order to get closer to Shakespeare, to the American critical culture of the 20th century, and to Jewish critic Fiedler.
The Four Strangers of Race and Gender

  Throughout Fiedler’s critical works, the theme of “race and gender” is inseparable. Fiedler claims that he confronts the negative and evil things of race and gender myths: especially the nightmare of genocide and the hidden Unrevealed misogyny. “Shakespeare’s Stranger” is a continuation of his theme of race and gender. The work is divided into four parts, mainly discussing women in “Henry VI”, Jews in “The Merchant of Venice”, and Moore in “Othello” Man, Caliban in The Tempest.


  The first part discusses women as strangers. Fiedler analyzes the female images in Shakespeare’s works such as “Henry VI”, “Sonnets”, “Cymbeline” and “Macbeth”. A study of the quatrains sums up his argument: “Since there is no purely masculine principle, no male is immune to the evil impulses represented by the feminine.” The sonnet recounts the “Black Lady” and the young man’s story. Fiedler sees the myth of Venus and Adonis as archetypes for these stories, in which women have an evil nature that brings misfortune and even death to young men. Fiedler points out that in the first part of Henry VI, there are actually three female characters: Joan of Arc, the Countess of Auvergne, and Marguerite, but they never appear on stage together and could be played by a The actors play, in other words, they are actually the same person. They are good at lying, sowing discord, making righteous people suffer or even die, and bringing disaster to the people and the country. In a mythological sense, Joan is Margaret and the Countess, and they are all forbidden witches. This myth includes not only the women in “Henry VI” but also Lady Macbeth, and Portia and the rebellious father. Desdemona. Fiedler believes that due to Shakespeare’s secret “misogyny”, these women generally have tragic endings. Fiedler pointed out that in Shakespeare’s plays “every marriage makes the father cry, and the price to be paid for those tears is blood”. It is for this reason that “Romeo and Juliet” has a tragic ending, and Desdemona, who betrayed her father and married a Moor, also died tragically. Of course, there are also some women in Shakespeare’s plays who have good endings. Fiedler pointed out that in order for the heroine to get a good ending, there is always a ritual process of transforming into a man. This process is manifested as a woman disguised as a man in the play.
  The second image of the stranger is a Jew. Fiedler mainly analyzed the image of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice. In fact, many of Fiedler’s previous Shakespeare reviews involved Sherlock’s Jewish identity, and Fiedler As a Jew, Le pointed out that the prototype of Sherlock’s mythology was Abraham in the Old Testament. Fiedler believed that the image of Abraham killing his son with a knife has always troubled Europeans, making Abraham the prototype of an evil father in the eyes of Gentiles, and Recurring in countless literary works, they are all shadows cast by Abraham in Fiedler’s view. Another special feature of Fiedler is that he pointed out the archetype and historical meaning of the story of Sherlock and his daughter Jessica. Fiedler believes that Sherlock and Jessica fit the ogre story type, namely: good The daughter or kidnapped princess betrays the demon or ogre father who raised her, helps the prince kill the demon, and takes all the treasures of the father to marry the prince. In short, the good daughter betrays the evil father. This story mode is in ” It also appears in King Lear and Othello. Fiedler pointed out that Portia followed his father’s wish to choose a box to get married is a variation of this myth, the three boxes represent the father’s wishes, and the result of each suitor’s failure in choosing a box is that he will not marry for life, which shows that this is because his father did not want to marry. The daughter is taken away by other men and punished young men, and Portia secretly helping Bassanio is actually betraying his father. The story of King Lear is a reprint of the story of choosing boxes. The three boxes are not external, but materialized in the bodies of King Lear’s three daughters.
  The third part mainly discusses how the Moors are ostracized as strangers in Othello. Formally, Fiedler suggested, Othello should be seen as two plays—a comedy in one act followed by a tragedy in four acts. The comedic ending, in which the young bride escapes her protective father and elopes with her beloved, fits well with Jessica’s story pattern, and the last four acts feature the tragedy of interracial union, and a near-bloody one. farce tragedy. Fiedler believes that in “Othello”, the black image is split into two people, one is Othello the Moor, he is black on the outside and white on the inside, and the other is Iago, he is white on the outside and black on the inside, Fiedler pointed out that as a white person Iago is a part of Othello as a black man, and Othello’s jealous and irascible character becomes the accomplice of the evil and sensitive Iago, and jointly planned the tragedy. Fiedler pointed out that black people, as strangers, have always been the incarnation of evil beasts in people’s minds. Shakespeare agreed with and catered to this idea. Therefore, he believed that the prototype of the story of “Othello” was Beauty and the Beast, which represented people’s common opposition to the beast. The fear of blacks raping white women, white men projecting their desire to possess women on blacks, fear and repel blacks. However, Fiedler points out that Othello’s blackness is mostly symbolic, not that he is of low birth, but that he has the greatest degree of cultural difference from the girl he loves and the people who love him.


  The fourth part discusses the savages of the New World as strangers, and the main research object is Caliban in The Tempest. Scholars linked The Tempest to the American continent as early as the 18th century, Edmund Malone, Sidney Lee, and later Leo Marx. Leslie Field explicitly identifies Caliban as Indian and points to The Tempest’s symbolic significance to American history. Fiedler pointed out that people tend to think that before Columbus discovered the west, the world was divided into three parts, and that the area beyond the western border of that world was inhabited by non-living things that threatened humans. Shakespeare wrote his “American fable,” The Tempest, more than a century after Columbus discovered the New World, when the first reports of the settlement of Jamestown reached England. According to Fiedler, the image of Caliban represents the typical European view of all Americans. In his view, in The Tempest, Caliban is just Shakespeare’s nightmarish vision of Indians—part Moors, part Brazilian-Patagonian-Bermuda Indians, part fish. His name is a variant of “Cannibal”, derived from “Carib”, the name of the first Indian tribe in Europe. Furthermore, the crime committed by this creature is not cannibalism (an act of African savages), but the desire to rape white European women (as represented by Miranda), and Caliban represents the fear of transracial rape.

Stranger Concept and Other Consciousness

  Fiedler’s research on the stranger in Shakespeare’s plays borrowed a lot of novel viewpoints from previous Shakespeare reviews, and made these viewpoints spread. However, as Mark Winchell said: “This book tells us that Fiedler More than Shakespeare.” Fiedler’s The Stranger is more about himself, an extension of his “race and gender” theme. The stranger and the outsider have always been Fiedler’s preoccupations, as he put it in a 1984 interview with Newsweek. “I wrote first about outsiders — blacks, Indians — then excluded generations and genders — teenagers, women — and finally freaks with biological anomalies. I’m more interested in defining through the margins what is Human rather than by core definition.” His concern with the situation of blacks, Jews, savages, and women, strangers in literary culture, is inseparable from the sensitivity and contradiction of his identity as an American Jew. Fiedler’s definition and interpretation of the stranger in Shakespeare’s plays, exploring the mythological mechanism and social psychology of why strangers become strangers, reflects his Jewish identity and other consciousness, and is also the process of his identity exploration.
  ”Strangers” became one of the important topics in sociology in the early 20th century. In 1908, Georg Simmel, one of the founders of sociology, published Sociology, which included a special section on “Strangers”. Simmel understood “stranger” as “outlander” and “foreigner”, and he believed that the European Jew was the prototype of the stranger. Therefore, when the stranger became a sociological concept, it mainly referred to Jews. Most Jewish intellectuals recognized this concept and often used it to refer to Jews. In Fiedler’s view, a stranger is a person who is very similar to us, a member of the human family, but in other important respects he is alien to us. In Fiedler’s opinion: “The oeuvre of an age, of a school, of a writer, at the center of any succession of works, there is always a set of assumptions about human nature, especially about the limits of man. … That marginal figure who defines the boundaries of humanity is called the ‘shadow’ ‘other’ ‘the alien’ ‘the outsider’ ‘the stranger’.” In Fiedler’s view, people of a particular culture, whenever they are in their world Strangers at the border, that is, whenever they are forced to confront creatures who are in some way uncomfortably similar to themselves but don’t quite fit in (or worse, seem to have rejected it) They seem to have to invent myths when they define human beings. These beings are defined as superhuman or subhuman, god or demon, depending on whether the defining group conquers or is conquered by them. Fiedler points out that, psychologically speaking, the process of creating the myth of the stranger is projection: onto other people who are respected or despised. Fiedler believes that people have an inherent evil side, and people tend to project this evil side onto others. Fiedler points out: “Sherlock the embodiment of evil, his greed, his pride, his mistrust of pleasure, and even his destruction of what he hates, exists in all of us to some extent – not because we are Jewish, of course. or Gentiles, but only because we are human.” They are evil not because they do evil deeds, but because they are other.
  Fiedler’s discussion on the issue of strangers runs through his entire career of academic criticism. He tries to see the world through the eyes of “others”. Fiedler always sympathizes with those who cannot integrate into the mainstream culture. He sympathized with Native American Indians, blacks—and with people outside the United States, including the Palestinians. He identified with literary figures who wanted to escape the constraints of race, religion, and country. In fact, the process of Fiedler’s research on strangers is also the process of his identification with Jewish identity. In 1975, Holland proposed in his article “Unity-Identity-Text-Self” that “unity to text” is equal to “identity to self”. He argues that “interpretation is a function of identity” and that in the reading experience “everyone finds specific themes that relate to them. Each has a different way of making the text an experience of coherence and meaning…” Each reader recreates the work in light of his own identity themes, and Fiedler is a Shakespeare critic whose critiques are based on his reading of Shakespeare as a reader. Fiedler, who identifies with his Jewish identity and writes based on it, once said: “I found that no matter how far my new interests took me, whether I wanted to or not, from a Jewish point of view, I continued to Write as a Jew.” As an American Jew, Fiedler deeply felt the discrimination and hostility of Christian culture towards Jews. He was keenly aware that Gentiles’ hostility towards Jews existed in ancient cultural genes and in the classics of all ages. Fiedler argues that the Jewish people must, through translation and interpretation, generalize the mythic qualities usually ascribed to them in Western literature. Jews can be greedy, vengeful, hateful, but no more or less than others. His focus on and interpretation of strangers, restoring the reason why strangers become strangers, aims to stigmatize or idealize the image of Jews or related women, blacks, and Indians from anti-Semitism or racism. Rescue them from the hands of humanization, restore their true colors, and endow them with the right to be normal people. This process is the process of dispelling the enchantment of possession, and it is also the process of rectifying the name of others.
Myth Criticism and Racial Ideals

  Fiedler does not intend to regard a literary work as an independent closed system, but regards the text of the work as a collection of many “contexts” or “situations”. He believes that a work can be viewed from various angles—— To analyze and evaluate from the perspectives of sociology, psychology, history, anthropology and genre, criticism is to find the connection between the work and all these “contexts”. Fiedler does not treat texts as isolated phenomena, he not only connects characters with characters, texts with texts, but also texts with cultural backgrounds. Racism, his racial ideal is to connect lonely individuals, get rid of the atomized world, and establish an ideal whole world without race and others, which embodies the ultimate hope of Fiedler’s cultural salvation.

“The Tempest” stage stills

  The study of Fiedler’s myth has opened up all the works, connecting the characters in different plays to form a big world. He states that “all truly mythical characters and events escape the works that produced them and survive in the public domain. There they belong to no one but are contemporaries of each other”. Therefore, in his Shakespeare commentaries, characters and characters, texts and texts are connected by mythological archetypes. These shared myths and fantasies touch us all, where we are never spiritually separated from each other. These deepest mythological factors are the historical accumulation of human desires, so they can arouse universal and long-term resonance. First of all, Fiedler connects four kinds of strangers and seeks their similar fate. Fiedler believes that “the exploited marginalized people have a strange likeness to each other, so that not only in Shakespeare’s works, but in In the imagination of the entire Western world, women and Jews have fallen together.” He sees all women as “mythologically one, all ‘black’, all French, all determined to betray the male defenders of England”. Fiedler analyzed the strangers in Shakespeare’s plays, and pointed out that in Shakespeare’s works women=dark=Jews=black. When Fiedler commented on “Othello”, he implied that Indians and Jews were equivalent in mythology. In his review of “The Tempest”, he even suggested that Indians and Africans were equivalent. Fiedler pointed out that Caliban was a black man. The mother of Caliban came from “Algiers”, “Algiers was part of the Moorish world from which Othello came.” Thus, when this fact is viewed in the light of the African roots of Caliban’s mother, it can be seen that Mystical connection between blacks and Indians. Secondly, Fiedler connects text and history, and makes isomorphism between text myth and history. In Fiedler’s view, Jessica and Sherlock represent Judaism and Christianity respectively, and Jessica “is the archetype of the Virgin Mary, perfect conceived and eternally chaste, she has no connection with Jewish patriarchy, as an antithesis to In response to the Annunciation, she became the first Christian”. Fiedler believed that Christianity was born out of Judaism. Christians hated asceticism and dogmas that violated human nature. They dared not deny their Christian beliefs, but projected this sense of hatred to Judaism, the source of these dogmas. Here, Fiedler compares the archetype of Sherlock and Jessica with Judaism and Christianity, and tries to give the reasons for Gentile anti-Semitism. He described The Tempest as an allegory of the entire historical process of the United States, an allegory about the slave trade and slave rebellion, connecting Europe, Africa, and the United States in evil and terror. Fiedler sees in The Tempest Combining the “themes of colonialism and race,” he sees Caliban not only as an American Indian, but also as representing African slaves and medieval European barbarians. In his view, Prospero’s suppression of the conspiracy of Caliban, Stephano, and Trinwood symbolizes “the whole history of imperialist America.” Fiedler believes that “The Tempest” foretells to us in the form of prophecy the entire history from the initial plundering of Indian lands through wars to the establishment of Indian reservations, from the initial black slavery to early European immigration. If we accept Fiedler’s view that Europeans instinctively see America as a Caliban culture, it is worth noting that Prospero’s last words to Caliban are: “This dark thing I admit mine.” It seemed “for the time being to completely link the mystical duke with the ‘savage and deformed slave’, as if, through Prospero, all of Europe was wreaking havoc on the eternal evil of America, then conquered and enslaved. Take responsibility”. Fiedler’s passage is meant to illustrate the universality carried in these myths of the Stranger, that “something dark” in the Stranger exists in everyone. It is through the myth of the stranger that Fiedler attempts to connect people of different classes and races.
  A story connects all similar characters and stories horizontally, vertically connects earlier sources of mythology or fairy tales, or extends to a broader reality of historical culture. This net was deduced by Fiedler, covering everything from a small ring to the New World of America. The stories of the various characters are interlinked and deduced layer by layer. There is no clear logical causal relationship, but a synchronic overall. This is related to Fiedler’s academic ideal and ultimate pursuit. “They worry about the unraveling of the modern world, and Bush, Mr. Fiedler, and many other scholars and commentators are anxious to see literature play a role in salvaging it,” Brooks wrote. Work is saving our fragmented, disconnected culture. Fiedler’s criticism of the myth, and his revelation of the mechanism behind the image of the stranger, is not to distinguish normal people from strangers, to show the differences between people, nor is it just to criticize this discriminatory behavior, so as to provide Jewish Waiting for strangers to be named, but to connect people to people, he believes that there is no essential difference between whites, blacks, Jews, women, Moors, savages, or other various strangers , there are only mythological differences, and his literary criticism all his life is devoted to eliminating differences and establishing connections.


  Mark, a modern American scholar, points out: “Because Shakespeare is such a familiar figure, misreadings of his plays and sonnets are often more illuminating than safe and traditional analysis.” “The Stranger” is such a This is an inspiring book, Fiedler’s subversive interpretation of Shakespeare’s plays is refreshing for readers, and his unique mythological perspective makes us think deeply about the image of strangers in Shakespeare’s plays. Fiedler said he was not discussing “our Shakespeare,” but “Shakespeare’s us.” Through his interpretation of Shakespeare, he explores the various states of human nature, that is, explores ourselves. He used “race and gender” as a spear to speak out for the minority, trying to build bridges and establish connections between alienated individuals in a disintegrated world. He undertakes a literary and mythological pilgrimage to connect increasingly separated and isolated individuals in an atomized world.

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