An investigation into the way in which Sarah Kane used language as a dramaturgical tool to express power relationships and struggle within the symbolic order in a selection of her plays.
(2013) An investigation into the way in which Sarah Kane used language as a dramaturgical tool to express power relationships and struggle within the symbolic order in a selection of her plays., no. 42.
British playwright Sarah Kane had a short career, ending with her suicide in 1999. Critics often attacked her for the visceral and violent actions in her plays. Because of this, the content of her plays is often overlooked, and instead scholars concentrate on her depression, suicide and the reception of her plays. However, Kane was an impressively well read author, her plays were well written and stylised pieces. This dissertation looks at the way Kane used power discourse and struggle within the symbolic order in three of her plays, Blasted (2001), Phaedra's Love (2001) and Cleansed (2001), giving a fresh take on Kane's work. By using pragmatic readings with reference to several theorists, most notably Michel Foucault and Jaques Lacan, this study is able to credit Kane's depth of knowledge in theatre history, methodology and writing style and give an in depth textual analysis, particularly looking at the way language was used to build complex power discourse between characters, and express characters' struggles with entering, and existing within the symbolic order. In using readings from several scholars, this textual analysis will show a deeper understanding of Kane's skill as a writer, and the interpersonal relationships of her characters, without venturing into the sensational aspects of her life. It analyses the role that power and knowledge take in her plays and shows the ways that they affect characters relationship with the symbolic order and with the world they inhabit.