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Iris Murdoch’s novel-plays: the impact of the use of dramatic elements on Iris Murdoch’s fiction

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2009
Naseri Sis, Farzaneh
Murdoch’s fiction has been influenced by dramatic elements, particularly comic elements. This influence has been revealed as parody. Murdoch parodies the comic character types of the eiron, alazon, buffoon and agroikos by exaggerating and mixing their functions and themes of love, separated lovers and metamorphosis in her novels, The Nice and the Good, The Black Prince, and The Sea, The Sea. In addition, she makes parodic uses of Shakespearean plays, As You Like It and Love's Labour's Lost, Hamlet, and The Tempest, in her novels in question. Her use of parody as a weapon against the genre of romantic comedy, its character types and main themes is the result of her philosophical view of drama and the dramatic. She argues that comedy and tragedy deal with appearance whereas drama and the dramatic ought to involve reality. In her novels in question, she shows that the dramatic is the conflict of selfish self with itself to reach self-knowledge. Murdochian self- knowledge is the knowledge of what lies beyond self. This kind of knowledge is achieved by unselfing, a process through which a solipsistic self recognizes its solipsism and challenges it by means of love and art.