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Reading Blasted by Sarah Kane ‘Based on Violence’

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2010, 23(2), pp.165-188
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

Choi, Sunghee 1

1이화여자대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This essay is an attempt to read Sarah Kane’s Blasted ‘based on violence,’ which is distinguished from dealing with violence just as means of representation; it is to see violence expressed in this play as necessary choice for Kane to reveal the reality she feels. In a word, what matters is the connection between violences looking irrelevant at first glance or in the common sense: i.e., the daily violence which seems to be personal and take place ‘here,’ and the terrible violence that we can watch in medias or news, which seems to take place ‘there.’There appears several levels of violence in this play: first, the violence by act or idea that we would be likely to do, have, and confront in everyday life are shown through Ian; and the violence in lawless area through Soldier. The most impressive violence―and the most controversial―is the dislocation of the set through the intruding Soldier and subsequently its being blasted by bomb. This takes a role to connect the two violences but many critics, even those having favorable opinion for Kane, I think, have failed to explain its implications appropriately. The way that most interpret it is to see it as a kind of ‘metaphor.’ But I think it can be called a reality itself because it reveals the hidden mechanism of the modern politics and the condition of the life of today as Giorgio Agamben depicts. The dislocation in this play is so abrupt and outside logic, but it shows that our place inside the state with juridical order turns into outside of it. Most of people thinks such a dislocation unrealistic, but it can be truly a real. According to Agamben, a place of the state of exception, a dislocation localization, that is a ‘camp,’ in which law is suspended and power meets a ‘bare life’ without any mediation of law, is ‘created’ rather than determined based on particular real emergency state. This means that a camp is not exceptional but already exist in juridical order and can appear at any moment. In Blasted, Kane surprisingly detects such features and conditions of life in modern society and even further asks if there could be a hope in such a place.

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