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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The play ends in a way that many Renaissance texts promise but few actually deliver : an onstage scene of torture . To discover the extent of the usurpation plot , Muly Hamet , the new Emperour of Morocco , tortures Crimalhaz .
Watching the horrific scene , Morat links the debased nature of the act to the barbarousness of the entire empire . He mourns : What Hearts of Flesh , with Eyes of Sense and Pity Could stand to see the God - like Martyr Stretcht Upon a ...
a In the beginning of The Cruelty the audience is presented with the perspective scene in which “ the Natives , in feather'd Habits and Bonnets , sare ] carrying in Indian Baskets , Ingots of Gold , and Wedges of Silver .
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Religion Color and the White
Abjection and Racial Characterization
The Indian Emperour or The Conquest
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