Vol. 10 (2021)
Studi e Saggi

“Liquida palingenesi”. L’immaginario acquatico delle tragedie di Shakespeare tra gli archetipi delle Sacre Scritture e i miti d’acqua di Ovidio

Simone Rovida
Free researcher
Published December 10, 2021
  • Tragedy,
  • Bible,
  • Ovid,
  • Shakespeare,
  • Water


Shakespeare’s water imagery in his mature tragedies is often considered to be indebted either to the Holy Scriptures or to Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Through a semantic and rhetorical analysis of his images of water and the relevant figures of speech, the aim of this study is to show that Shakespeare’s debt towards those sources is actually more aesthetic than theoretical. Far from being mere borrowings, the Shakespearean co-occurrences of the seme of water in the tragedies construct a semantic network only apparently consistent with both the Biblical and the Ovidian aquatic worlds. Rather than replicating his models’ paradigms, Shakespeare reinterprets and re-reads them by basically challenging their episteme in order to provide a more problematic, typically Renaissance point of view.


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