Shakespeare's "full realization" in "The Tempest": Maternal absence and the mystical transcendence of fratricidal self-fashioning through the 'Caritas' of daughters
Although Shakespeare explored the vicissitudes of the literary self throughout his canon, a crucial transition is observable beginning with the tragedies Hamlet and Othello and culminating in his last romance, The Tempest. Patriarchal self-fashioning of Shakespeare's tragedies is fragmented by a specular twin, which leads to narcissistic enclosure in the Lacanian mirror state. In the romance Cymbeline, a reversal of fratricidal mirroring represses the specular double and creates the illusion of imaginary wholeness. In contrast, Miranda, a caritas figure of female wonder in The Tempest, brings about a transcendence of fratricidal self-fashioning, which mystically reconciles imaginary wholeness and death. Although the intertextuality of The Tempest continuously harks back to the imperial matriarchy of Elizabeth I and deconstructs Jacobean partriarchal discourse, lost mothers are never restored to Prospero's island. Shakespeare's substitution of the daughter's specular chastity articulates the absence of maternal mirrors in his romance world.