Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage
Routledge, 2008 - 174
Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage provides the first sustained reading of Restoration plays through a performance theory lens. This approach shows that an analysis of the conjoined performances of torture and race not only reveals the early modern interest in the nature of racial identity, but also how race was initially coded in a paradoxical fashion as both essentially fixed and socially constructed. An examination of scenes of torture provides the most effective way to unearth these seemingly contradictory representations of race because depictions of torture often interrogate the incongruous desire to substitute the visible and manipulable materiality of the body for the more illusive performative nature of identity. In turn, Performing Race and Torture on the Early Modern Stage challenges the long-standing assumption that early modern conceptions of race were radically different in their fluidity from post-Enlightenment ones by demonstrating how many of the debates we continue to have about the nature of racial identity were engendered by these seventeenth-century performances.
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In other words , Oroonoko exposes the social constructivist heart of torture . This revelation , however , can only be achieved through the depiction of torture itself , thus , constantly restaging the abjection of the racialized victim ...
and others of Oroonoko's attendants two and two ; Oroonoko last of all in chains ” ( 1.2 ) . Oroonoko's first presentation , then , highlights how Captain Driver interprets race in an essentialist way : Oroonoko's black skin is the only ...
Lucy and Charlotte seek rich husbands in Surinam , but they never seem attracted to Oroonoko in Southerne's adaptation . Unlike Behn's female narrator who rhapsodizes about Oroonoko's beauty , Lucy and Charlotte seem immune to ...
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