'Let us […] / On your imaginary forces work': persuasion, perspective and hypnosis in Henry V - Aix-Marseille Université Access content directly
Book Sections Year : 2021

'Let us […] / On your imaginary forces work': persuasion, perspective and hypnosis in Henry V

Abstract

When we think of hypnosis what we are most likely to have in mind is Kaa's attitude in The Jungle Book: the snake using his spiral eyes to lull Mowgli to sleep while it wraps its dangerous coils around the boy. 1 Like the hissing reptile, hypnotizers raise mixed feelings that range from fascination to fear. Indeed they are believed to rob their victims of their liberty and to cause them to do things they would never dream of doing. Yet there are degrees in hypnosis which include fairly ordinary states, as Milton Erikson demonstrated. 2 It may account for what happens to us when we are being seduced or-it is the next step-when we fall in love, when we listen to beautiful music, or read poetry or attend a theatrical performance. It is the sort of 'mighty magic' 3 that operates when Desdemona listens to Othello's story. What Samuel Taylor Coleridge called 'willing suspension of disbelief' (Coleridge 184) may be viewed as a form of pleasurable and spontaneous 4 surrender of the spectators' selves to the besieging force of a performance, a besieging force that they decide to yield to from the outset. It is made possible by an 'inward wish'. 5 Suspension of disbelief places the public in an intermediary state. The attitude they adopt spontaneously-the adverb is important-can be compared to that of children wearing a superhero outfit: they believe they are Superman and yet they know they are not Superman. It stands to reason that drama is enjoyable only if the public accept for a while to deceive themselves: they 'forget' about reality and allow illusion to take over. In an 1 Not to mention the famous Jedi mind tricks in Star Wars. (Episode 2 Attack of the Clones) 2 Eriksonian hypnosis advocates indirect methods and gives pride of place to suggestion. 3 Othello,1.3.92. 4 Spontaneous rather than voluntary, Coleridge adds. 5 Canterbury describes the effect Henry V produces on his listeners (1.1.39).
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hal-03855209 , version 1 (16-11-2022)

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  • HAL Id : hal-03855209 , version 1

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Jean-Louis Claret. 'Let us […] / On your imaginary forces work': persuasion, perspective and hypnosis in Henry V. "Work, work your thoughts" Henry V revisited., 2021. ⟨hal-03855209⟩
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