'Filial ingratitude': Marina Carr's bond with Shakespeare

Maley, W. and Van der Ziel, S. (2018) 'Filial ingratitude': Marina Carr's bond with Shakespeare. In: Collins, N. and Van der Ziel, S. (eds.) Shakespeare and Contemporary Irish Literature. Palgrave: London, pp. 175-200. ISBN 9783319959238 (doi:10.1007/978-3-319-95924-5_8)

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Contemporary Irish takes on Shakespeare can be direct, even confrontational, or they can be sidelong and shifty. Male Irish playwrights can be bold and jealous in their responses. Marina Carr is different. She is doubly removed from Shakespeare, by her nationality as well as her gender. Perhaps as a result of this double removal, a mixture of admiration, acute awareness of an overweening influence, and the resentment it can give rise to in some cases, is reflected in all of Carr’s complex responses to Shakespeare—which is figured in this essay as analogous to the ‘bond’ between Lear and Cordelia, as Carr’s work can be said to display her fair share of ‘filial ingratitude’ to a literary father-figure. This essay looks at how Carr engages with Shakespeare in playful yet purposeful ways, through asides and soliloquys rather than in the ego-driven contestatory manner of Irish writers from Shaw to Kilroy, Joyce to McGuinness. It also argues for the underpinning role of Shakespeare in Carr’s work beyond three titular tributes. In The Cordelia Dream (2008), for example, her unique and oblique approach to King Lear is evident, as a daughter dreams of independence from a father who will not relinquish authority. Carr’s critique of patriarchy and female subordination shines through. Like her other tangential takes on Shakespeare—Portia Coughlan (1996) and Ariel (2002), both of which are discussed here at length—The Cordelia Dream offers no neat solutions to intractable problems, but rather a complex family drama that doubles as an allegory of patriarchy and artistic creation.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Maley, Professor Willy
Authors: Maley, W., and Van der Ziel, S.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Critical Studies > English Literature
Copyright Holders:Copyright © The Author(s) 2018
Publisher Policy:Reproduced in accordance with the publisher copyright policy

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