This research paper aims at showing how a play focused on the rhetoric of gender discrimination can be instrumental to challenge the multifaceted reality of violence. The approach to the play – a contemporary adaptation from Ovid’s Metamorphoses (Book VI) by Canadian playwright Erin Shields – consists of a combination of a philological, linguistic and critical tool able to foreground the way in which language functions, and to interpret the inter-and infra-textualities that make up the work as a whole (Barthes, 1977; Kristeva, 1986). The sacred dimension of myth (whether religious or secular) is also studied in its interaction with human rights, the horror of wars, and the process of becoming inhumane. (Calasso, 2001; Gutmann & Taylor, 1994.). The analysis of the text shows how the violence against woman dealt with in myth is very similar to the violence perpetrated on women during today’s wars. It also shows that violence begets more violence on the part of the victim, who becomes, in turn, a perpetrator herself, in an endless cycle of inhumane actions. The research is directed specifically at an intellectual, rather than active, involvement, and it primarily argues that gender equality needs being enabled in human relationships, and it must preside over punishment. When a reaction to female violation is set in motion in terms of a just as violent revenge, then a metamorphosis of people into beasts is equally (and justly) applied (by the Gods) to male and female inhuman behaviour. That is how Shields takes the opportunity to critique gender equality in the theatre.
Stefanelli, M. (2015), "Humans into Birds: Italian Interpretation of Gender in Canadian Theatre", Enabling Gender Equality: Future Generations of the Global World (Research in Political Sociology, Vol. 23), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, pp. 219-230. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0895-993520150000023015Download as .RIS
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