USF St. Petersburg campus Faculty Publications

Between Two Worlds: The Dybbuk, Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and Reparative Tragedy

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Lisa S. Starks

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This article examines how S. Ansky's 1918 play The Dybbuk, or Between Two Worlds and its subsequent adaptations on stage and screen appropriate Romeo and Juliet, transforming Shakespeare's tragedy, through Kabbalah and Jewish folklore, into one that ‘repairs’ the story of star-crossed lovers and the material world that they seek to escape. The Dybbuk is a ‘reparative tragedy’, one that intersects multiple levels of restoration, healing and repair. Generically, the play and its later stage and screen adaptations recuperate and refigure Shakespeare's tragedy; materially, it calls for the repair of past and impending trauma, suffering and severed human relationships. These levels, as well as others, culminate in the play's overriding spiritual one: the play follows the ‘reparative’ narrative of Kabbalah itself, with its goal of tikkun olam – to repair the world.




Berghahn Journals