Κατεύθυνση Αγγλόφωνη Λογοτεχνία και ΠολιτισμόςLibrary of the School of Philosophy
Γερμανού Μαρία, Επίκουρη Καθηγήτρια, Τμήμα Αγγλικής Γλώσσας και Φιλολογίας, Εθνικό και Καποδιστριακό Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών
Ντόκου Χριστίνα, Επίκουρη Καθηγήτρια, Τμήμα Αγγλικής Γλώσσας και Φιλολογίας, Εθνικό και Καποδιστριακό Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών
Μπλατάνης Κωνσταντίνος, Επίκουρος Καθηγητής, Τμήμα Αγγλικής Γλώσσας και Φιλολογίας, Εθνικό και Καποδιστριακό Πανεπιστήμιο Αθηνών
The Uncanny Chorus: The Untamed Woman as Freud's "Unheimlich" in Euripides's "Bacchae", Wole Soyinka's "The Bacchae of Euripides: A Communion Rite'' and Charles L. Mee's ''The Bacchae 2.1''
The Uncanny Chorus: The Untamed Woman as Freud's ''Unheimlich'' in Euripides's ''Bacchae'', Wole Soyinka's ''The Bacchae of Euripides: A Communion Rite'' and Charles L. Mee's ''The Bacchae 2.1''
"Does being female constitute a "natural fact" or a cultural performance," Judith Butler wonders in her book Gender Trouble (xxviii). The theorist merges two concepts in this statement: that of femininity and that of conformity to culturally constructed conventions as a performance. To her, abiding to these rules creates a repetition of acts that constitute the idea of gender, because they are established as unbreakable. Thus, social norms are imbued with a sense of theatricality, since they are an 'act', the same attribute that Aristotle praised as integral to tragedy and its essential difference from other literary genres. However, there is a question as to what follows the breach of this "ritualistic repetition" (186) of gender roles, that inevitably transforms them into something unfamiliar and strange. According to Sigmund Freud, though, these are the main sources of the production of the type of fear he refers to as unheimlich, the feeling of uncertainty formed when a formerly familiar object, person or situation is simultaneously similar to and different from what it used to be.
Investigating the ancient Euripidean tragedy Bacchae and two more of its contemporary adaptations, Wole Soyinka's The Bacchae of Euripides: A Communion Rite and Charles L. Mee's The Bacchae 2.1, this dissertation will attempt to answer the question of how gender becomes a source of the unheimlich. Pentheus, the Theban king who formulates and applies the law in the polis, oppresses his people by enslaving them, both metaphorically and literally in Soyinka's case. The god of wine, Dionysus, enters the tragic lieu to transform it from a place of limits to one of liberation. By introducing his worshippers -barbaric, Asian women called Bacchae- he releases to the centre of the polis what was hidden in its recesses, forcing the inhabitants, and specifically their king, to bear witness to the violent aftermath of his oppression. The Bacchae, who embody the unheimlich in the three plays by opposing conventional gender performance, are there to demonstrate the dire consequences of oppression. Having remained concealed by the orders of the king, they welcome slightly deranged Pentheus and help his mother tear him to pieces. I will try to argue that the unheimlich women, oppressed and marginalised for too long, demand the destruction of the old regime and the rise of a new order of harmonious acceptance.
Main subject category:
Language – Literature
gender, in-between, fear, unheimlich, transgression, adaptation, ancient greek tragedy, Bacchae, Dionysus