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Title: Aspects of violence in the drama of Fernando Arrabal
Author: Martin, Michael Trevor
ISNI:       0000 0001 3620 1195
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1978
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This thesis is structured in two parts and aims to contribute to our understanding of the drama of Fernando Arrabal by the elaboration and comparison of two interpretations of the role and significance of violence in that drama. In Part One it is shown that the fundamental opposition between individual and authority which stands at the heart of Arrabal's oeuvre reflects the terms of the main concerns of the author's biography. The meaning of that opposition is then elucidated by a comparison which is made between the terms of its expression in the form of violence, and the description given by Freud of the sub-conscious facets of the individual psyche. It is shown that Arrabal's use of violence reflects exactly Freud's elaboration of the psychological notions id and super-ego and it is thus concluded that Arrabal's plays express the plight of the individual caught between the demands of the id and those of the super-ego. While the interpretation developed in Part One depends upon a single comparison which is made between Arrabal's drama and the schema set out by Freud, the interpretation developed in Part Two depends upon comparisons which are drawn between Arrabal's drama and three separate schemas. Part Two therefore contains three sections which elucidate the content, form, and theatrical structure of Arrabal's plays respectively. In Section 1 of Part Two it is shown that the opposition which characterizes Arrabal's plays reflects not only the biographical concerns of the author, but equally the fundamental tenets of his 'panique' philosophy. It is argued that philosophy and plays alike may be interpreted in the light of the 'religious' theories elaborated by Caillois, Durkheim and Bataille and it is shown that the concept of 'la confusion' central to Arrabal's 'panique' philosophy, and denoting the nature of total reality, may be understood in the light of the concept of violence, as defined by Bataille. It is thus concluded that Arrabal's plays may be seen as an attempt to portray violence in this sense. Section 2 of Part Two assesses the validity of the symbols used by Arrabal to portray 'la confusion' (and hence violence in the sense defined by Bataille) on the basis of a parallel which is drawn between the notion of violence and the concept of the Collective Unconscious as defined by Jung. The archetypes of the Collective Unconscious identified by Jung are used as a yardstick for the evaluation of Arrabal's symbols, and the assertions made in Section 1 of Part Two are effectively substantiated, in as much as it is demonstrated that those symbols adequately express what is connoted by the term violence. In Section 3 of Part Two the method adopted by Arrabal to portray violence as theatre is discussed in detail. It is noted that Arrabal's philosophy is supported by a well-developed dramatic methodology which indicates the means of presenting the irrational notion of 'la confusion' (or violence as defined by Bataille) to a rational audience. The appropriateness of this methodology to Arrabal's stated philosophical objective is assessed, and the methodology itself is explained as a reflection and extension of the principles of drama, which, it is noted, perfoms a similar function in uniting the imaginary world of the illusion with the real world of the spectator. In the conclusion the findings of each part of the thesis are restated and the relationship between the two interpretations is examined and found to suggest, firstly the existence of a relationship between all the various, apparently unrelated systems referred to in their formulation, and secondly the terms of a final assessment of the nature of the achievement of Arrabal's drama.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HM Sociology ; PN Literature (General) ; PQ Romance literatures