L'Information Psychiatrique


Shakespeare's Julius Caesar: An “unassailable” and “unshaked” personality Volume 95, issue 10, Décembre 2019

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* Correspondance

The Roman tragedy of Julius Caesar (Shakespeare 1599) presents the reader with an aging Caesar who is a little hard of hearing and prone to epileptic fits, but also a Caesar who shows himself to be, claims to be, and knows himself to be “unassailable” and “unshaked.” He is presented as having disproportionately high self-esteem, self-sufficiency, and pride, speaking about himself in the third person, certain of his divine heritage. After a short review of the literature devoted to the various portrayals and analyses of the character, we will focus on the megalomaniac dimension of the Shakespearean Caesar. We will explore, on the one hand, the question of filiation and imposing ego, and, on the other, the question of identity and personality—from the Lacanian point of view—of the Roman dictator. We will see that these two qualifiers (“unassailable” and “unshaked”), spoken by Caesar himself in the play, will direct us throughout this study toward a personality structure that we might today describe as “paranoid.”

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