'Schlechtes mensch/gutes opfer': the role of Marie in Georg Büchner's Woyzeck

Martin, L. (1997) 'Schlechtes mensch/gutes opfer': the role of Marie in Georg Büchner's Woyzeck. German Life and Letters, 50(4), pp. 429-444. (doi:10.1111/j.1468-0483.1997.tb01703.x)

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Abstract

Readings of Woyzeck which seek to explain the eponymous character's behaviour as externally caused as well as those who see in him the epitome of solitary Man, alone in the universe, alike ignore the consequences of Woyzecks insanity and social subjugation: namely, the murder of Mane. Yet this murder is by no means the logical result of Woyzeck's abuse by his social superiors nor is it a solution to his existential loneliness.<p></p> This feminist reading of Woyzeck draws on theories of the scapegoat and sacrifice (Girard) and on feminist cultural critiques (Irigaray and others) to reveal the culturally determined assumptions about sexuality, love, and revenge, which make the murder of a promiscuous woman both a necessary and an acceptable outcome of the play. It also proposes that the relevance of Büchner's play for the modern, and especially the woman, reader or spectator lies in its exploration of the production of such cultural assumptions, and not in their unquestioning reproduction.<p></p>

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Martin, Dr Laura
Authors: Martin, L.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures > Comparative Literature
Journal Name:German Life and Letters
ISSN:0016-8777
ISSN (Online):1468-0483

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