The Nature of Contemporary Catharsis in Marina Carr’s By the Bog of Cats… Cover Image

The Nature of Contemporary Catharsis in Marina Carr’s By the Bog of Cats…
The Nature of Contemporary Catharsis in Marina Carr’s By the Bog of Cats…

Author(s): Dagmara Krzyżaniak
Subject(s): British Literature
Published by: Wydawnictwo Uniwersytetu Łódzkiego
Keywords: nature of contemporary catharsis;Marina Carr;By the Bog of Cats
Summary/Abstract: Hester Swane, the protagonist of Marina Carr’s By the Bog of Cats..., one of the most subversive female characters in modern Irish drama, is a contemporary Medea. As her suffering becomes extreme and her despair escalates, she performs a mercy killing of her own child. Carr uses the Greek source and adds some contemporary (psychological) circumstances to create her play and her heroine. This results in a new type of tragedy and a new type of catharsis potentially experienced by the audience. It is this relation between the fiction of art and the reality of life that is the main subject of the present considerations. Tragedy has always been more than a representation of a tragic experience. Its role of stirring emotions, however, should be reassessed and looked at from a perspective other than that of Aristotle’s pity and fear. The workings of a tragedy upon the contemporary psyche are also to be demonstrated to be much different than just an abreaction and a discharge of emotional tensions or ventilation of feelings. These theories of catharsis should be reconsidered and the psychoanalytical perspective replaced with the most recent findings of cognitive-behavioural therapy in psychology. The application of the emotion exposure procedure used in psychotherapy to the understanding of the nature of contemporary catharsis in modern tragedy introduces a link between theories concerned with the way drama affects the audience that were previously found exclusive: the dramatic theatre and the epic theatre. The contemporary tragedy, as it is demonstrated by the analysis of Marina Carr’s play, engages viewers’ emotions and empathy and awakens (re)cognition just like cognitive-behavioural therapy involves both emotion exposure and cognitive

  • Page Range: 127-135
  • Page Count: 9
  • Publication Year: 2013
  • Language: English