Metamorphosis as a Figure for ‘Impure’ Desire. Venus and Adonis between Poetry and Performance

Chiara Lombardi


The essay analyses the different figures of desire in Shakespeare’s Venus and Adonis. Through the analysis of the rhetorical strategies, and the intertextual resonances, it examines the function of metamorphosis in the interaction between language and performative dynamics, with reference to the recent Italian rewriting and representation of the text made by Valter Malosti. Metamorphosis is read as a figure of ‘impure’ desire not only as it makes identities more fluid and interchangeable, by challenging individual and social roles (such as male/female, active/passive, divine/human, nature/culture etc.), but also as it contributes to break the dichotomy between realty and ideal, and between life and death, by emphasizing the strength of the passions – enhanced by the relationship between poetry and performance – against death and reification.


Shakespeare; Ovidio; Metamorfosi; Performance; Retorica

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