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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:54144
Doc. No:TL24098
Call number:‭3417870‬
Main Entry:Kathleen Rittenhouse
Title & Author:Isis by any name: A study of "All's Well That Ends Well"Kathleen Rittenhouse
College:Pacifica Graduate Institute
Date:2009
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2009
Page No:231-n/a
Abstract:This dissertation is concerned with the fate of the dark aspects of the divine feminine, as represented by the goddess Isis, after Christianity obtained its monopoly on European religion. Despite ecclesiastical attempts at extirpation, the goddesses of the pagan religions did not vanish from European culture. Those aspects of the pagan goddesses that were not subsumed into the figure of the Virgin Mary were discarded, but survived to reappear from time to time in art. Post-Reformation England was such a time. The convergence of the Renaissance enthusiasm for classical culture, the occult Neoplatonist interest in ancient Egyptian religion and magic, the void left by the Protestant rejection of the cult of the Virgin Mary, and the flourishing of Elizabethan theater, with the group of brilliant playwrights who wrote for it, favored the reappearance of the divine feminine in the secular context of the theater. Of the many possible pairings of goddesses and plays, Isis and All's Well That Ends Well by William Shakespeare is the structure through which I explore the combination of conscious and unconscious influences that inspired the creation of the heroine Helena, an ambiguous character who reflects the divine feminine in its manifestation as Isis. Shakespeare knew the works of Apuleius, Ovid, and Plutarch, and infused a fairy tale plot borrowed from Boccaccio with a richness of mythological and psychological content. All's Well is a notoriously unpopular and problematic play; I argue that the problems lie mainly in interpretations that focus exclusively on the superficial and ignore the mythic dimension. Marie-Louise von Franz has observed that although it is impossible to comprehend rationally an archetype such as Isis, it is possible to circumambulate it by looking at it from different points. This dissertation follows aspects of Isis from her beginnings in ancient Egypt through the Renaissance, and culminates in an interpretation of All's Well that shows the ritual substructure of the play in which the main character, Helena, combines human characteristics with elements of Isis, and acts as initiate, priestess, and goddess in an initiatory sequence that recalls The Golden Ass .
Subject:Philosophy, religion and theology; Communication and the arts; Psychology; Language, literature and linguistics; Depth psychology; Eros; Archetypal psychology; Metamorphosis; Individuation; Myth; Divine feminine; Shakespeare, William; All's Well That Ends Well; England; Religious history; British and Irish literature; Clinical psychology; Theater Studies; Divinity; Femininity; Christianity; European history; Europe; 0593:British and Irish literature; 0320:Religious history; 0622:Clinical psychology; 0645:Theater Studies
Added Entry:E. L. Smith
Added Entry:Pacifica Graduate Institute