Restorative and Reflective Nostalgia in Doctor Faustus, Macbeth and The Tempest


  • Márta Hargitai



In the paper nostalgia and their types will first be explained and revisited; then, three examples will be provided for early modern dramatic representations of the then-unnamed concept of the pain of missing one’s homeland and the yearning to return safely to where one belongs. The frustration felt by various characters for to the means of escape and return safely home, to be finally saved and recover/retrieve/reclaim their possessions, rights, original place, title, etc. (cf. the etymology of nostalgia from Greek nostos “homecoming,” ultimately from PIE nes- “escape from, survive, be saved” + Greek algos “pain”) can be seen to play a key role in each of the three plays under investigation. The plays investigated here are Doctor Faustus, Macbeth, and The Tempest, and the paper demonstrates that despite their generic and thematic differences all three represent the synthesis of two types of nostalgia—reflective and restorative—giving voice to both elements reflected in the etymology of the word: nostos and algos; thereby informing us of the striking abundance of nostalgic tendencies in the literature of the period.