Anthony and Cleopatra (The Complete Shakespeare Translated by William Shakespeare, Liang Shiqiu

By William Shakespeare, Liang Shiqiu

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Extra resources for Anthony and Cleopatra (The Complete Shakespeare Translated by Liang Shiqiu, Book 35) (Bilingual Edition)

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Because the war is transferred to the outside of the borders of the collective conscience, it remains invisible – it is unlisted also because we choose not to see it. The atrocities of war – both representable (horror) and unrepresentable or invisible (terror)11 – are evoked on stage to bring the audience into a position alike to that of the victims of war and to make war accessible for a society that, mostly, cannot reflect on its own war experience. Illuminating the theatrical reverberations of the current global state and thus, inadvertently, defining the crucial nexus between the dramatics of a world at risk and war and the theatrical representation of this world’s risks and wars, Beck declares that ‘[w]orld risk is the staging of the reality of world risk’ (2007: 30).

Freud defines the taboo as the root of human ethical and legislative codes (317). In his wide-ranging study Violence and the Sacred (1972), René Girard argues that the sacred consists of forces whose dominance over man increases in proportion to the effort to master them, as in case of natural catastrophes, but he singles out human violence as ‘the heart and the secret soul of the sacred’ (Girard 32). He underlines the intricate, maybe constitutive, relationship between taboo and violence as well as between taboo and drama, raising the issue of the representation of violence in drama and suggesting the term of ‘sacrificial crisis’ to clarify a central aspect of the disrupted cultural order in Greek tragedy: the crisis brought about by an impure, a taboo element (46, 51).

Holcroft 32). In possibly one of the most extreme portrayals of the state of exception as the norm, Holcroft shows the school lessons as an attempt at normality: Beth teaches on until only a few of her students are left and the war effort finally takes over the classroom. As in the plays by Kane, Harris and Churchill, the war is presented as a constant and quite amorphous threat that is fully incorporated into the people’s lives and governs all their decisions. As if in anticipation of Agamben’s later thesis of the state of exception having become the norm, with which this chapter opens, Hans Magnus Enzensberger has asserted that most western urban spaces resemble war zones already, that they are breeding grounds of random violence and have long become the site of a fully-fledged civil war sanctioned by a 36 The New War Plays state of exception the factual existence of which is ignored by the general public (Enzensberger 1994: 18–22, 26–7).

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