29 juillet 2022

“That ebb and flow by th’ moon”: The Dynamics of Flow Theory and Optimal Experience in William Shakespeare’s King Lear



The aim of the research is to apply Csikszentmihalyi’s flow theory to William Shakespeare’s King Lear. Commonly, flow and optimal experience are equated with happiness as well as positive characters since they pertain to the realm of positive psychology. The analysis has demonstrated that tragic and/or agonising characters can endure flow and optimal experiences amid cathartic situations. The challenging part of the research has shown that flow and optimal experience are likely to happen with villainous characters performing wicked deeds. The applicability of the flow theory on King Lear as a tragic hero who is not forcefully wicked has been demonstrated. The Fool/Lear relation has been scrutinised to prove that their intertwining has reinforced flow and created feedback. Edmund’s soliloquy is not an embittered speech by a malcontent as conventions have shown; it is rather an optimal experience exhibiting important flow components such as freedom and focus. Moreover, there is semantic parallelism between plot and subplot as for the interconnectedness between flow and evil characters. The study of the mutilation scene orchestrated by the wicked sisters and Cornwall shows that flow does not require that the executed task should be of a benevolent nature; it does not also require that the perpetrator of the action ought to be good-natured or warm-hearted. Flow and the optimal experience can happen amid chaotic, violent, criminal, and even sadistic acts.



Keywords: Flow theory, optimal experience, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, King Lear, Focus.


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Citing this article according to APA guidelines:
Ben Amor, Z. (2022).
“That ebb and flow by th’ moon: The Dynamics of Flow Theory
and Optimal Experience in William Shakespeare’s
King Lear”. ATRAS, 3(2), 39-56.





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Zied Ben Amor: PhD, Assistant Professor, Ex-chairman of the English Department, Faculty of Arts and Humanities of Sousse, University of Sousse, Sousse, Tunisia


Citing this article according to APA guidelines:


Ben Amor, Z. (2022). “That ebb and flow by th’ moon”: The Dynamics of Flow Theory and Optimal Experience in William Shakespeare’s King Lear”. ATRAS, 3(2), 39-56. https://www.univ-saida.dz/lla/wp-content/uploads/sites/8/2022/07/Zied-Ben-Amor3.pdf


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