Romeo and Juliet: A New Context for Victory?

Nic Panagopoulos


The contention of the present comparative study is that the closest Shakespearean work to Conrad’s Victory is not The Tempest, as has previously been thought, but Romeo and Juliet. Besides various thematic links between these two texts, also noted by Adam Gillon (1976), I argue that Victory and Romeo and Juliet are connected on the level of genre, plot, and characterization, with whole scenes in Conrad’s novel mirroring those in Shakespeare’s play. In conclusion I suggest that the striking similarities between the two works can either be explained by a conscious desire on Conrad’s part to imitate Shakespeare’s art, or by a kind of involuntary emulation, whereby the novelist had so far assimilated the Bard’s work as to follow it unconsciously while composing his own novel.

Słowa kluczowe: Conrad and Shakespeare, tragedy/comedy, mirroring, Victory, Romeo and Juliet, comparative study, cryptomnesia

Baines, Jocelyn. Joseph Conrad: A Critical Biography. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1960.

Bradley, A.C. Shakespearean Tragedy: Lectures on Hamlet, Othello, King Lear& Macbeth, London: Macmillan, 1904.

Conrad, Joseph. Victory. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1994.

____________. “Heart of Darkness.” Penguin Twentieth Century Classics. Ed. Paul O’ Prey. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books,1989.

____________.Under Western Eyes. Penguin Twentieth Century Classics. Ed. Boris Ford. Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1985.

Dike, Donald A. “The Tempest of Axel Heyst.” Nineteenth Century Fiction 17.9 (Sept. 1962): 95-113.

Freud, Sigmund. The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. 24 Vols. Eds. J. Stratchey & Anna Freud. London: The Hogarth Press, 1961.

Gillon, Adam. Conrad and Shakespeare and Other Essays. New York: Astra Books, 1976.

Holy Bible, TheNew International Version (1973). 3rd Reprint. Colorado Springs: International Bible Society, 1984.

Jean-Aubry, G.Joseph Conrad: Life and Letters. 2 Vols. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, Page & Co., 1927.

Karl, Frederick R. A Reader’s Guide to Joseph Conrad. New York: The Noonday Press, 1960.

Lodge, David. “Conrad’s Victory and The Tempest: An Amplification.” Modern Language Review LIX (April 1964): 195-99.

Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. The Arden Shakespeare. Ed. Harold Jenkins. London: Methuen, 1985.

____________. Romeo and Juliet. Penguin Shakespeare. Ed. T.J.B. Spencer. London: Penguin, 2005.

____________. The Tempest. Penguin Popular Classics. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1995.