The Poetics of Revolution
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This paper looks at the meaning of revolution and the different explanations that have been put forward over the years, with quotes from Aristotle, Gustave LeBon, Karl Marx and Raymond Williams. The paper goes on to explain the importance of rhetoric and its use in leading revolutions.
From the Paper:"The play shows in Genet's word, that "power cannot do without theatricality." What
Genet means by this is that political power derives its legitimacy from the force of the images it manages to implant in the minds of people. Irma's brothel ( a state controlled institution, representing the nexus between the capitalists and the State) allows the system to " perpetuate its structure of morality." It provides a setting for ordinary people to indulge their fantasies of power and sex by playing the roles of various pillars of power ( like Bishop, Judge, General). By allowing an expression to the discontentment that people were feeling ( symbolized by the revolution outside), Irma's balcony serves the purpose of diluting the revolutionary fervor.
The play also focuses on the nature of revolutions. Madame Irma is afraid that if the
revolutionaries win, they will bring the reign of her " maison d illusions" to an end, since the
workers, she says, are " without imagination." They have their feet firmly planted in reality- the reality of the oppressive nature of existing social relations. However, the revolutionaries too are trapped in the same capitalist structure that they wish to dislodge. They too, cannot do without images either and find it in Chantal, a girl rescued from the brothel by Roger. The leader of the revolution, Roger, makes a striking comment, exposing the problem with revolutions. He says, "In order to fight against an image, Chantal has allowed herself to be turned into another image. The struggle is no longer taking place in reality...we have lost sight of the reasons for our revolt."
According to B. Mangalam, Genet believes that if revolutionaries do not substantially subvert the traditional centers of power in ideological terms, they would fail in their endeavor to supplant them. With the assassination of Chantal (representing the revolution), the State (represented by Irma) is victorious and the revolution disperses."
Sample of Sources Used:
- Bonnefoy, Claude. Conversations with Eugene Ionesco. Tr. Jan Dawson. London: Faber and Faber,1970.
- Genet, Jean. `The Truth Is Possible Only When I Am Alone.' The Balcony. Ed. B. Mangalam. Delhi: Worldview Publications, 2005.
- Genet, Jean. The Balcony. Ed. B. Mangalam. Delhi'' Worldview Publications, 2005. Gramsci, Antonio. Prison Notebooks. London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1971.
- Ionesco, Eugene.Present Past Past Present. Tr. Helen R. Lane. London: Calder and Boyans, 1972
- Ionesco, Eugene. Rhinoceros. Ed.Dilip K. Basu. Delhi: Worldview Publications, 2008.
Cite this Term Paper:
The Poetics of Revolution (2013, June 28) Retrieved September 22, 2019, from https://www.academon.com/term-paper/the-poetics-of-revolution-153582/
"The Poetics of Revolution" 28 June 2013. Web. 22 September. 2019. <https://www.academon.com/term-paper/the-poetics-of-revolution-153582/>