The Elizabethan Theatre of Cruelty and its double
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This thesis is an examination of the theoretical concepts of Antonin Artaud (1896-1948) and their relation to the Elizabethan theatre. I propose that the dramas of the age of Shakespeare and the environment in which they were produced should be seen as an integral part of the Theatre of Cruelty and essential to its very understanding. The development of the English Renaissance public theatre was at the mercy of periods of outbreaks and abatements of plague, a powerful force that Artaud considers to be the double of the theatre. The claim for regeneration as an outcome of the plague, a phenomenon causing intense destruction, is very specific to Artaud. The cruel and violent images associated with the plague also feature in the theatre, as do its destructive and regenerative powers. The plague and its surrounding atmosphere contain both the grotesque and sublime elements of life Artaud wished to capture in his theatre. His theory of cruelty is part of a larger investigation into the connection between spectacle, violence, and sacrifice explored by Mikhail Bakhtin, René Girard, and Georges Bataille.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2024-05-12
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Electronic version restricted until 12th May 2024. Illustrations permanently restricted
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