|Published online: April 01, 2014||$US5.00|
Drawing on recent theoretical scholarship on gender and its relation to language and power (Butler: 1990, Felman: 1985, Irigaray: 1985), I analyze Machinal, by Sophie Treadwell, from a linguistic and literary perspective and demonstrate how the author creates a radically new syntax that disrupts common assumptions on woman’s “place” in society, while providing a powerful representation of patriarchal oppression inherent in language. Through a textual analysis of selected passages, I demonstrate how Treadwell deliberately refuses the appropriative logic implicit in the process of naming, and stages the opposition between silence and language as her privileged way to express Otherness itself. First produced in New York in 1928, Machinal, is based on the infamous Snyder-Gray criminal case. Convicted in 1927 together with her lover, Judd Gray, for the killing of her husband, Ruth Snyder was found guilty of murder in the first degree and electrocuted. Treadwell, an unconventional journalist, actress and playwright, chose to write a play rather than to report on the case, thus offering her audience an alternative view on the woman’s culpability.
|Keywords:||American Theatre, Gender Studies, Women Crime Narratives|
The International Journal of the Humanities: Annual Review, Volume 11, pp.73-82. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: April 01, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 483.116KB)).
PhD Candidate, English Department, University of Bari, Bari, Italy