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date: 29 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines how we see desire on stage, especially in the absence of a body, through an analysis of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Focusing on the absence of the Indian boy in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, it considers whether desire can be present without a physicality to guarantee its presence on stage. It asks why Shakespeare does not produce the Indian boy as a fully materialized physical body and looks at two different modes of theatricality operating around the changeling boy’s physically absent body: the first might be hypothetically attributed to ‘Shakespeare’ and the second to ‘later productions’. It shows that the absent cause of desire and the inability to correlate desire to a fixed body seems to be a hallmark specifically of Shakespearean theatricality.

Keywords: desire, stage, William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, absence, Indian boy, physicality, presence, physical body, theatricality

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