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Sachs, H. (1923). The Tempest. Int. J. Psycho-Anal., 4:43-88.

(1923). International Journal of Psycho-Analysis, 4:43-88

The Tempest

Hanns Sachs



Man lacks a means of communication between soul and soul. Speech well suffices to convey our wishes and needs to one another, but does not inform us of the conditions of our mind in which they are rooted. We have therefore, on the whole, to be content to imagine another's soul like our own and to rejoice if but a corner of the curtain which our individuality spreads over every other soul is lifted. To transform your own soul into that of another so as to be able to divine not only the desires and cares of the day, but also the flickering phantasies, even down to the dreams, and afterwards to retain this state of identification so that others may see the miracle with their own eyes—that is, without doubt, the greatest work in the liberation of man.

It is this psychagogy that has from the very beginning been the poets' aim, but only one poet has ever attained it.

Shakespeare's characters do not speak only from the situation that is given to them by the poet, but from their own ego, and with such masterly truth that every one of them is a complete and never recurring personality; and yet the words that are spoken by his heroes and his knaves, his queens and wenches, are even to-day on every tongue.

One who reigns so supremely over the spirits of others must love to hide his glory and to wander unknown through life like Harum al Raschid through the streets of Bagdad. Whether by intention or by chance, Shakespeare succeeded entirely in hiding the identity of his soul.

Not that we know little of him.

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