Shakespearean Intertextuality in Mahmoud Darwish: The Otherness of the Proper Name in Darwish and Rita and Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet
Publication Type
Original research

This article examines Shakespearean intertextuality in the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish’s selected literary pieces so as to reflect upon the relationship between him and the Israeli other who bears the symbolic name Rita. We contend that in the poems and prose passages that Darwish dedicated to his beloved Jewish woman, Tamar Ben Ami, Darwish refers to her using the pseudonym Rita to fictionalise his love to her in ways that mirror Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Inspired by Derrida’s concepts of the name and identity and Althusser’s theory of interpellation, we argue that the impossible love between Mahmoud Darwish and Tamar Ben Ami, like that of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, is linked to the otherness of the proper name, the site of one’s personal and collective identity. We demonstrate that both the protagonists of Shakespeare’s fictional world and Mahmoud Darwish and Tamar Ben Ami (Rita) are trapped by their names which allocate them to warring families and national identities, functioning as alienating cultural and political forces upon their bearers.

English Studies
Taylor and Francis - Routledge
Publisher Country
United Kingdom
Impact Factor
Publication Type
Both (Printed and Online)