“Violence and Sexuality In In-Yer-Face Drama: Sarah Kane’s Phaedra’s Love, Mark Ravenhill’s Some Explicit Polaroids, and Anthony Neilson’s Penetrator”
In-yer-face theatre arising in the 1990s in Britain is generally renowned for staging extreme and explicit images of violence and sexuality. This study aims to discuss the nature of violence and sexuality in in-yer-face drama as part of a continuum in dramatic history, by considering it as a descendant of Ancient Greek Theatre, Jacobean Theatre and Theatre of Cruelty. Through brief studies of past aesthetic movements, in-yer-face theatre is situated within Western dramatic tradition in terms of its similarities as well as differences. Three plays by provocative contemporary playwrights are studied in detail. The concept of violence and sexuality is examined in Sarah Kane’s Phaedra’s Love (1996), Mark Ravenhill’s Some Explicit Polaroids (1999), and Anthony Neilson’s Penetrator (1993). Kane’s Phaedra’s Love explores the violence inherent in the language through portraying the clash of symbolic and literal levels of language. Ravenhill’s play, Some Explicit Polaroids investigates the violence in the creation and perception of body as an image that is generated by the global capitalist system. Lastly, Neilson’s Penetrator examines the violence in sexuality by showing the clash of private and public reality and how the prohibitions and taboos of the society impede the expression of private reality with regards to sexuality.
“The Moral and Political Worlds of Macbeth”
Unlike Shakespeare’s greatest villains such as Richard III and Iago, Macbeth is not really comfortable in his role as murderer and usurper thanks to his acute awareness that he is acting against the moral and political values which underpin the social fabric. The aim of this thesis is to explore the ways in which Macbeth falls afoul of the commonly accepted ethical and political norms in the discourse of the Renaissance era and finds himself in the role of a would-be “Machiavel”. He puts ‘words’ and his imagination into use to seize power and later to maintain his status as king of Scotland. Macbeth emerges as a great exemplar of how desire for political power silences the claims of conscience.
“Narrative Voice in Feminist Drama: A Study of Adrienne Kennedy, Caryl Churchill and Sarah Kane”
Much as narratives are an essential part of human life, the scholarly research on narratives under the branch of narratology is quite recent. Particularly the Russian formalism and French structuralism played a vital role in the development of classical narratology within the theoretical framework. However, classical narratology studied narratives mainly in the novels and evaded including the genre of drama in its scope. Flourishing in the 1980s, postclassical narratology has been critical of this omission and paved the way for scholarly studies extending the scope of narratology to other media and genres.
In the light of the theoretical works that postclassical narratology produced in relation to drama, this thesis intends to apply narratology to feminist drama. Feminist narratology, a recent branch of postclassical narratology, has restricted its scope primarily to novels and considerably neglected the narrative voice in feminist drama. Yet, drama can convey the narrator-narratee relationships among women characters through the dialogues in the storyworld. More importantly, a playscript does have an agent conveying the story with certain techniques even though this is not seen as overtly as in novels. In feminist plays, this (often invisible) agent may use various narrative techniques to attract attention to gender-related problems. Witin this content, this thesis discusses the intradiegetic and extradiegetic narrative techniques in the plays of Adrienne Kennedy, Caryl Churchill and Sarah Kane, which problematize the issue of gender and womanhood.
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