Power & Surveillant Gaze in Howard Barker’s The Gaoler’s Ache

Ramin Farhadi, Mohammad Amin Mozaheb


One of the goals of Howard Barker’s Theatre of Catastrophe is to challenge conventional view of historical events and writing of history. Barker’s historical approach is to first identify the repressive power institutions and their destructive effects on the lives of characters, then take up an uncompromising stance against the discourse of authority that tries to construct history according to its ends and attitudes. The Gaoler’s Ache (1998) is a play by which Barker represents the post-Revolutionary France and the exercise of disciplinary mechanism of power in a society that by means of surveillance and domination over the body, the revolutionaries cast off the monarchy and make the imprisoned queen an abject, an object of gaze and disgrace. Yet the abject queen by expressing her sexuality openly attempts to subvert the patriarchal and authoritarian society of the revolutionary State. In this respect the researchers, by using Foucauldian analysis and close reading, explore the way in which Barker makes use of the two notions of surveillance and abjection coined by the French thinkers Foucault and Kristeva respectively to stage how under the pressure of history and its constitutive discourses modes of resistance such as sexual self-making are anticipated. 


Howard Barker; Kristeva; Foucault; Abjection; Surveillance; Dissident Self-making

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.7n.1p.239


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