The Unrelinquished Metaphysical Desire in Pinter’s The Lover and Stoppard’s The Real Thing

Document Type : Original Article


1 PhD Candidate of English Language and Literature, Department of Literature and Foreign Languages, Karaj Branch, Islamic Azad University, Karaj, Iran

2 Assistant Professor of English Language and Literature, Department of Literature and Foreign Languages, Karaj Branch, Islamic Azad University, Karaj, Iran



The purpose of the present study is to employ René Girard’s concept of “metaphysical desire” in a comparative study of Pinter’s The Lover and Stoppard’s The Real Thing. René Girard has investigated the idea of imitative desire in a rather distinguished way. He contends that the nature of desires is neither innate nor autonomous, but rather we borrow them from the others. He argues for the idea that human beings are always looking for stronger mediators to gratify their desires. The imitative desire itself, once satisfied, is not gratified and the search for stronger impulses or mediators always continues in a never-ending process that Gerard refers to as “metaphysical desire”. The present research intends to look for metaphysical desire in the lives of the characters, wherewith they can examine the role of the mediator in the characters’ lives as well. Since metaphysical desire, as Gerard argues, leads individuals either to perfection or destruction and alienation, the characters are shown to imitate their metaphysical desire leading them to experience destructive consequences and family corruption. Consequently, the characters who have pursued their metaphysical desire on the verge of a negative sideline all fail to enjoy a life they long for, and are subject to alienation and misfortunes within which they constantly experience great pains. The characters also turn into obstacle-addicts who, metamorphosed into masochists and losing their lives for good, find no chances to change life as they long for.


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