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The Political Unconscious Staged in J. M. Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World

Hwang, Hoon-sung 1

1동국대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This paper aims to excavate the political unconscious hidden in Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World. Heavily relying on Fredric Jameson’s critical insight on the process of historicizing reappropriation, it adopts the semiotic term, ideologème in order to link the individual discourse of a concrete text with the collective discourse of ideology. In The Playboy of the Western World, the two forces in confrontation are obviously the Irish peasantry and the British colonialists. The former, fundamentally alienated in politico-economical terms, are deprived of the position to reclaim their identity. As the result, alienation, existentialist or sociological, leads the Irish peasants to feel desolate and lonely. In this view, their loneliness is not confined to an individualized sentiment but is transformed into an ideologème. As an intersection with amphibious character, the ideologème is capable of mediating conceptions of abstract ideology, worldviews and value systems with narrative practices manifested in the text as an intersection between langue as ideological scheme of class struggle and parole as concrete textual phenomena. Thus the sentiment of loneliness graphically links the words and deeds of an Irish peasantry soaked in loneliness with the abstract theory of ideology concerning the politico-economical practices of exploitation under the regime of colonization.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.