"Identity politics" Dramatic genres, Shakespeare's plays, and the Butlerian framewerk.
"Identity politics" Dramatic genres, Shakespeare's plays, and the Butlerian framewerk.

Author(s): Anna Mackenzie
Subject(s): Literary Texts
Published by: Łódzkie Towarzystwo Naukowe
Keywords: William Shakespeare; gender; dramatic genres; performativity; Judith Butler; The Merchant of Venice; The Taming of the Shrew; King Lear; taxonomies

Summary/Abstract: Performativity, as defined by Judith Butler, is a means of analysis that focuses on the dynamic constitution of a subject, rather than focusing on the end result alone. The post- performative rut, into which criticism of drama has fallen, is best illustrated through critics' reliance upon the unwieldy concept of genre which results in the unnecessary anaesthetising of dramatic works. This article sets out to demonstrate how, through engaging with Butler's framework of performativity. Shakespeare's plays can be liberated from the theoretical stranglehold of genre. Through specific analysis of The Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, and King Lear. This article interrogates the dominant critical uses of marriage as a generic feature, illustrating how simplistic notions of generic categorisation actually inhibit and restrict the plays' development and inherent performativity. The relevance of applying the principles of performativity to the study of dramatic works results in a process of analysis centring more on characterisation and dramatic dynamism rather than on archaic notions of dramatic genres.

  • Issue Year: 54/2011
  • Issue No: 1
  • Page Range: 5-24
  • Page Count: 20
  • Language: English