n Shakespeare in Southern Africa - Sightlines : the 'limits of illusion' in Oedipus Tyrannos and King Lear
|Article Title||Sightlines : the 'limits of illusion' in Oedipus Tyrannos and King Lear|
|© Publisher:||Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA)|
|Journal||Shakespeare in Southern Africa|
|Affiliations||1 University of the Witwatersrand|
|Publication Date||Jan 2013|
|Pages||31 - 42|
This article sets out to examine aspects of two canonical texts - texts in which the spoken utterance is instrumental in unsettling and even dismantling some notions of the representation of place and identity common in Western theatre - in order to interrogate the "physical language" of the stage to which Artaud refers. In Oedipus Tyrannos and King Lear, the figure of the blind man and the action of blinding establishes a theme that activates a broader enquiry into theatre as a medium and mode of signification and expression along the lines proposed by Artaud. In both plays the action is structured around weighty issues: the relationship between power and insight, the violation of moral and ethical responsibilities to kith and kin as well as to the body politic and, ultimately, the consequences of this transgression. Both plays may be interpreted as extended meditations on the dangers of illusion and a wilful avoidance of questioning 'claims to truth', an avoidance that imperils not only the individual concerned but an entire community. In both cases the significance of clear-sightedness and blindness operates literally and resonates figuratively in relation to questions of power and 'truth'.
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