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Title: "Ah don't have tha langage" : the function of silence in the drama of Marina Carr
Author: Maxwell, Margaret
ISNI:       0000 0000 8467 1442
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2007
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Harold Pinter famously described the function of speech as a deceptive 'stratagem to cover nakedness'. This study reads the drama of Marina Carr as engaging with this assertion, and explores her preoccupation with the tensions between overt, forceful, and often violent vociferation, and the resonance of unvoiced privacies. Throughout the study, therefore, silences are read in terms of such linguistic strategization as Pinter foregrounds, each chapter engaging with the fraught endeavours of Carr's protagonists to establish linguistic (self)-definition. Close readings are made of all of the plays in order to expose and explore the 'language locked beneath' these Pinteresque 'torrent[s] of language'. The silences discussed range between the familial, cultural, and individual, and the study is, thus split into three distinct parts. Part One focuses on familial silences, exploring the economics of grief and loss, the self-impoverishment engendered by chronic dependency and melancholia, and the problematics of individual and collective memories as (re-)constructions of past familial narratives. This section also explores the playwright's preoccupation with death, and the circumstances of death, as the central significance in the existential process. Part Two reads Carr's work in terms of interrogative social critique, discussing the means by which this playwright foregrounds cultural phenomena: specifically, the existence of an endemic yet glossed-over racism in Irish society, and the equally disregarded issues of social exclusion which lurk beneath the overt economic advantages of the Celtic Tiger. It also highlights and discusses her engagement with a contemporary cultural conversation which has pitched sociosexual matters from the absolute silence of taboo, to the forefront of public awareness. Carr's work is an integral and vibrant part of an Irish dramatic tradition of silence, and Part Three of the study juxtaposes her plays with those of her dramatic exemplars within this tradition, Samuel Beckett, Brian Friel, and Tom Murphy. This section also reads the individual silences in two of Carr's plays from a psychological perspective, through recourse to both the linguistic psychoanalysis of Jacques Lacan, and R.D. Laing's exploration of ontological insecurity and split subjectivity in The Divided Self.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available