"Beyond the Mask" : A Study in the Functions of the Mask in W.B. Yeats 's The Dreaming of the Bones, Luigi Pirandello's Henry IV and Jean Genet's The Blacks
Journal of Al-qadisiya in arts and educational sciense,
2010, Volume 10, Issue 3, Pages 17-38
AbstractThe mask, a device as old as the drama itself, is a central component of several modern plays by W. B. Yeats, Luigi Pirandello and Jean Genet. Although for different reasons and in profoundly different ways each seeks to dramatize through it what it could not be expressed without it. Yet the presence of the mask in their plays, whether as a metaphorical concept or an actual use, delineates two fundamental aspects of modern drama: first the desire to create a "work of art" on the stage that has a ritual significance, secondly the modernists' propensity to dramatize philosophical and psychological ideas. So the intent of the present paper is to investigate the signification of the use of mask in W.B. Yeats 's The Dreaming of the Bones, Luigi Pirandello's Henry IV and Jean Genet's The Blacks. With his weariness, regret, embarrassment and longing, J. Alfred Prufrock announces the moral "self-effacement"1 of modern age. Spiritually exhausted, he is forced to project a persona, to put on a mask. Prufrock suffers the modern soul's dilemma : an inability to activate thought, a failure to transform words into action. He wears a mask neither comic nor tragic.
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