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Word Count: 1,253
The dynamic of desire is a phenomenon all too familiar to the human condition Everyday experience attests to the conviction that desire assumes a linear path which projects from the subject directly to the object of the affection Such a concept embraces the assumption that the object possesses some intrinsic value that naturally elicits an affective response which is perhaps the dominant opinion about human desire The feelings generally associated with desire are so naturally drawn out by the object that little doubt is ever given to the authenticity of the experience The simplicity of the experience immediately provides a satisfactory account of the event thereby eliminating any need for further investigation A closer look at social interactions however reveals that human desire is mimetic or mediatedin which case the object desired has no a priori worth but is merely signaled by a model to be desirable The structure of desire is therefore triangular with the model mediating the subject and the object In King Lear Shakespeare portrays brilliantly this mimetic disposition of human nature he demonstrates dramatically how mimetic desire provides the necessary basis for cooperation as well as for rivalry in a community of common interests The first scene dramatizes perfectly the mimetic pattern of behavior At the outset King Lear calls his daughters together to exhibit their love for him Tell me daughtersWhich of you shall we say doth love us most That our largest bounty may extend Where nature doth with merit challenge1150-55 He tenders the prize of his kingdom and thereby makes it an object of desire Being the mediator of the desire himself he initiates the mimetic rivalry among his daughters by setting them against each other for his kingdom Goneril modeling him begins the competition with extravagant flattery and professes a love for her father that makes breath poor and speech unable1162 Then follows Regan Modeling both her father and her older sister she declares her love to
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