Tragedy Decentered: Free Play and the Creative Cataclysm in D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love

Lawrence, subversion, creative destruction, free play, Derrida


  • Rahil Dellali
    Teacher, Maitre Assistante –A- Badji Mokhtar University, Annaba, Algeria
December 31, 2019


D.H. Lawrence’s Women in Love is amongst the most tragic works of the twentieth century for it purveys an unprecedented likeness in its ‘social and moral annihilation’ to Greek tragedies. Yet, one should not take Women in Love tragically. Having Nietzschean philosophy at its core and calling the human condition into question allows what Friedrich Nietzsche calls the “mad unhappy animal”, i.e., man to recreate their “yet not fixed nature” within the flux of what Rupert Birkin in Women in Love defines as “the inverse process, the blood of destructive creation.” Tragedy, if unavoidable, could at least be supplemented, countered, and de-centered. Therefore, the characters portray what Jacques Derrida calls as a movement of free play as they move progressively toward a space where they “pass by man and humanism.”