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Summary

Please join us for a lecture by Classical Studes faculty candidate Todd Clary based upon his research, entitled:

"Shakespeare on Homer: Mimetic Anger and the Cognate Object Construction."

 

The Cognate Object Construction involves phrases in which a verb and noun of the same etymological derivation occur redundantly in one clause. Idiomatic examples in Modern English include ‘live life’ or ‘give a gift’. This paper compares the use of such constructions in Shakespeare and Homer in the dialogue of angry characters. Both bards, separated by over two thousand years and vastly different performance venues, nevertheless use the Cognate Object Construction in strikingly similar ways. In both, angry characters spit back the words of the people they are angry at in mimetic fury, foisting the otiose redundancy of the phrases onto the objects of their ire. In the case of Homer, observation of this similar usage flies in the face of a long tradition of criticism. Homer and his audiences have been accused of naivety for not objecting to the redundancy of the Cognate Object Construction, while Shakespeare has only been praised for his remarkably similar aesthetic perception of like constructions.

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