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The theatricality of Edward Bond's plays

Barakat, Mohsen Mosilhi A (1990) The theatricality of Edward Bond's plays. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent. (doi:10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86063) (KAR id:86063)


This thesis examines the theatricality of Edward Bond's plays, the devices, methods and aspects of characterisations, and the dramatic strategies and structure that emphasise the political consciousness behind them. It investigates the relationship between Bond's drama and social reality through the mentioned aspects, concentrating on the technicality of the playwriting. Apart from the Introduction and Conclusion, the thesis is divided into three parts. Part One investigates Bond's main anti-illusory devices. Chapter One discusses the topic of the histrionic words and actions. Chapter Two discusses the trial scenes in the plays and concludes that with the exception of Human Cannon, all Bond's courtrooms are diegetic, occurring within the narration. Chapter Three investigates three dramatic devices which are connected in the plays: 1) the atmosphere of playfulness or the sequences of horseplay, 2) the divided focus of aggro-effect which developed into 3) simultaneous action. Chapter Four focuses on the play-within-the-play especially when it is used as a detaching/detached device. Chapter Five investigates Bond's dramatic lyrics and songs. Part Two concentrates on Bond's methods of characterisation. As part of his schematic structure, Bond uses some figures to represent an abstract notion. Chapter One investigates the phenomenon of father figures (or "Wise Fools") which develop into the ultimate father figure/artist. These father figures are always portrayed in relation to young figures who are split into two halves. One of these halves represents the submission to socialised morality and the other represents the search for an alternative political system to the dehumanising one of the father figure. This oppositional configuration of the Siamese twins is the topic of Chapter Two. Chapter Three looks at Bond's employment of ghost figures, some of which die a second lime in the play. The chapter links these life-in-death representatives to other sorts of figures who represent death-in-life. These latter figures are called corpora, metaphorically dead characters. The possessed figures are the subject of Chapter Four which concludes that Bond's uses of mad figures is theatrical and gives little attention to illusion. Part Three is divided superficially into three chapters to deal with Bond's plays and their structure: Chapter One deals with the plays from The Pope's Wedding to The Sea, Chapter Two from Bingo to The Bundle, and Chapter Three from The Worlds to The War Plays. This part uses the findings of the earlier parts to facilitate an overview of the plays in order to specify the principal features of Bond's increasing theatricality, a theatricality which he uses as a vehicle to cany his own political analysis of the situation presented on the stage.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
DOI/Identification number: 10.22024/UniKent/01.02.86063
Additional information: This thesis has been digitised by EThOS, the British Library digitisation service, for purposes of preservation and dissemination. It was uploaded to KAR on 09 February 2021 in order to hold its content and record within University of Kent systems. It is available Open Access using a Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No Derivatives ( licence so that the thesis and its author, can benefit from opportunities for increased readership and citation. This was done in line with University of Kent policies ( If you feel that your rights are compromised by open access to this thesis, or if you would like more information about its availability, please contact us at and we will seriously consider your claim under the terms of our Take-Down Policy (
Uncontrolled keywords: Literature
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature on music
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
SWORD Depositor: SWORD Copy
Depositing User: SWORD Copy
Date Deposited: 29 Oct 2019 16:26 UTC
Last Modified: 24 May 2022 09:03 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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