The Harrowing Of Hell - Dialec


Roland Barthes's essay on "The World of Wrestling" draws analogically on the ancient theatre to contextualize wrestling as a cultural myth where the grandiloquence of the ancient is preserved and the spectacle of excess is displayed. Barthes's critique -- which is above all a rewriting of what was to understand what is -- is useful here insofar as it may be applied back to theatre as another open-air spectacle. But in this case, not the theatre of the ancients, but the Middle English pageant presents the locus for discussing the sport of presentation, or, if you prefer, the performance of the sport. More specifically, what we see by looking at the Harrowing of Hell -- the dramatic moment ...

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of pseudo-historical criticism, especially of the Elizabethan stage, certainly provides a well-plowed ground for advancing the festive and carnivalesque inherently present in the establishment and event of theater. Nevertheless, my discussion here is both more limited and more expansive: its limits are constructed by the choice of an individual play recurrent through the four extant manuscripts of what has come to be called the Corpus Christi plays; its expansion is expressed through a delivery that aims to implicate the particular moment of this play in the operations of a dominant church-state apparatus, which is, ostensibly, a model of maintaining hegemony in Western culture. The Harrowing provides a singular instance in which the mechanisms of control of the apparatus appear to extend and exploit their relationship with the audience (i.e. congregation). The play is constructed beyond the canonized operations of the sacred, originating a narrative beyond (yet within) the ...

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and that the outcome of the particular battle -- which is hardly a battle -- between Satan and Jesus is already determined, both Adam's and Jesus's speeches establish a code for participating in the festival. The audience is relegated within this code beyond the activity of interpretation; they are placed outside of the hermeneutic circle. Instead of calling for interpretation, the play calls for consumption, which means, in this case, to view the spectacle. The public then is subordinated to its own activity of visualization -- its own sense of perception -- to gain access to the operations of the festival. At this point of subordination to the visual, the audience's motives, according to ...

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PAPER DETAILS
Added: 12/11/2008 09:32:30 AM
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 4438
Pages: 17

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