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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24 In addition , the dedication seems to serve to mask an anxiety about England's lack of participation in the conquest of the New World . Dryden writes : Under your Patronage Montezuma hopes he is more safe than in his Native Indies ...
As I mentioned earlier , other critics have argued that Pizarro's actions are not representative of the entire conquest : they see Cortez as separated from this brutality and violence . After all , Cortez does come to rescue Montezuma ...
The unheroic nature of the Spanish conquest allows the audience to ponder if physical conquest in some ways contaminates the conqueror . Like all contamination narratives , the contradictory discourses for race become conflated : is ...
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