Withstanding the Goading of Temptation or Not? An inter-textual Study of Pride and Envy in Genesis Chapter 3: 1-19 and Shakespeare’s Othello

David Torevell


The tendencies towards pride and envy clearly continue to be key constituents of personal, political and social life, with inevitable harmful consequences. This article is an inter-textual examination of Genesis 3, 1-19 and Shakespeare’s Othello and focusses on these two human failures. My aim is to illuminate how the Biblical Word might inform readings and performances of this tragedy and vice versa, in order to clarify the subtle and devastating nature of such leanings of arrogance. I start by discussing a central idea in Hannah Arendt’s social philosophy: the move during modernity towards the exploration of the self, without a regard to any notion of a soul and then suggest this trajectory lends itself all too easily to amor sui (self-love), a theme St Augustine highlighted with such dexterity. I also argue that religion generally, and the Christian Church Fathers in particular, by their brilliant exegetical insights into the book of Genesis, identify remedies and a healing process for this dangerous narcissistic tendency, which are relevant today.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/ijsss.v7i6.4537


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International Journal of Social Science Studies   ISSN 2324-8033 (Print)   ISSN 2324-8041 (Online)

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