The mask of the refuser

Research output: Contribution to conference typesPaperResearch

Abstract

Shakespeare’s refusers – those, in the plays, who are unable to offer their assent to socially-demanded customs and enjoyment – problematise the metaphor of depth and surface in discussions of selfhood. Moreover, their withdrawal from participation in communal values, usually at great cost to themselves, is sudden, unpremeditated, and irrevocable; this differentiates them from principled dissidents whose deeply-held personal convictions have led them to say no. Rather than indicating the nature of anything within, refusal happens to the individual from without, in much the same way that the compelling and overpowering subjectivity of ‘the Mask’ happens to its victims in the Jim Carrey film of the same title. Drawing upon Slavoj Zizek’s use of this example in discussing the symbolic and ‘the inhuman core of humanity’, the paper will discuss Shakespeare’s Joan la Pucelle and Marston’s Malevole as figures who trouble the notion of a ‘screen’ between inner self and outer world, and who threaten to collapse the ‘fantasy of reality’ played out upon this illusory surface.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2012
EventShakespeare Inside-Out: Depth, Surface, Meaning - Lancaster University
Duration: 24 Feb 2012 → …
http://wp.lancs.ac.uk/shakespeare/events/2012-2/

Conference

ConferenceShakespeare Inside-Out: Depth, Surface, Meaning
Period24/02/12 → …
Internet address

Fingerprint

Mask
William Shakespeare
Participation
Costs
Enjoyment
Assent
Dissidents
Inner Self
Fantasy
Joan of Arc
Subjectivity
Selfhood
Conviction

Keywords

  • Shakespeare
  • Marston
  • refusal
  • depth
  • surface
  • identity
  • selfhood
  • Zizek
  • ideology

Cite this

Chamberlain, R. (2012). The mask of the refuser. Paper presented at Shakespeare Inside-Out: Depth, Surface, Meaning, .
Chamberlain, Richard. / The mask of the refuser. Paper presented at Shakespeare Inside-Out: Depth, Surface, Meaning, .
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Chamberlain, R 2012, 'The mask of the refuser' Paper presented at Shakespeare Inside-Out: Depth, Surface, Meaning, 24/02/12, .

The mask of the refuser. / Chamberlain, Richard.

2012. Paper presented at Shakespeare Inside-Out: Depth, Surface, Meaning, .

Research output: Contribution to conference typesPaperResearch

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AB - Shakespeare’s refusers – those, in the plays, who are unable to offer their assent to socially-demanded customs and enjoyment – problematise the metaphor of depth and surface in discussions of selfhood. Moreover, their withdrawal from participation in communal values, usually at great cost to themselves, is sudden, unpremeditated, and irrevocable; this differentiates them from principled dissidents whose deeply-held personal convictions have led them to say no. Rather than indicating the nature of anything within, refusal happens to the individual from without, in much the same way that the compelling and overpowering subjectivity of ‘the Mask’ happens to its victims in the Jim Carrey film of the same title. Drawing upon Slavoj Zizek’s use of this example in discussing the symbolic and ‘the inhuman core of humanity’, the paper will discuss Shakespeare’s Joan la Pucelle and Marston’s Malevole as figures who trouble the notion of a ‘screen’ between inner self and outer world, and who threaten to collapse the ‘fantasy of reality’ played out upon this illusory surface.

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Chamberlain R. The mask of the refuser. 2012. Paper presented at Shakespeare Inside-Out: Depth, Surface, Meaning, .