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date: 27 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Caliban’s semantic slipperiness derives from page descriptions and stage performances that excessively mark Caliban’s bodies with vilifying language, while at the same time destabilizing the referential value of that language through their very excessiveness. ‘Fish’, ‘beast’, and ‘Hag-seed’ spawn the incoherent stage signs of fins, fur, scales, and skin disease. Following monstrous vectors of contagion along rhizomatic lines, my readings will concern themselves with the de- and re-territorializations of Caliban’s bodies on page and stage: first by focusing on the tracings of language that inscribe Caliban’s identity, and second by mapping the movements of ‘becoming-animal’ and ‘becoming-imperceptible’ that signal his lines of flight. I ultimately argue for the usefulness of Caliban’s monstrous becomings not as a finished analytical product but as a working critical model: an exercise in treating the fragmentation and opacity of the performing body not as a limitation but a possibility.

Keywords: performance, race, monsters, generation, becoming, rhizomes

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