John O'Meara

Shakespearean, neo-Romantic critic

John O'Meara Shakespeare Shakespearean Romanticism Literary Critic Novalis

Impactful Violence and Subversive Silence Viewed in Relation to

Shakespeare’s ‘Macbeth’ and Swift’s ‘Gulliver’s Travels’: A Historical Overview

(drafted June-July 2018)

Within the act of beholding violence lies a point of “stillness” that constitutes at once a problem from the moral point of view, as well as offering a solution to this problem. There is a problem inasmuch as, at this point of stillness, resistance to violence is paralyzed, while at the same time a moral sphere opens up as if in direct reaction to this. Silence emerges from this stillness as its own phenomenon, challenging a moral response in spite of the paralyzing effect. However, a culture of silence was far from being developed as an effective moral mainstay in the sphere of action either in Shakespeare’s day or in Swift’s, whether in the perpetration or beholding of violence.

The Power of Nothing:

The Limits of Non-Participation

in Act 1 Scene 1 of King Lear

(drafted August-September 2018)

A thorough revaluation of tragic developments in Act I scene 1 of 'King Lear' based on a closer reading of the scene than has ever been offered. The many problems with critical reception of this scene. In every sphere of commentary on this scene, the main point of Cordelia’s pretensions has been missed (pretensions forced upon her by her social inability at a certain level of performance)--namely, that there is an absolute limit to non-participation and that ‘nothing’, as an actual condition of existence, reserves a power that no one can pretend to revert to, let alone champion, or brave—as we see from the awful event it unleashes that is beyond the control of everyone.