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date: 29 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines what it calls ‘philosophical dramaturgy’—a challenge to theatricality that comes from a powerful philosophical appropriation of drama—and its claim that drama, as a mode of human self-understanding, can and does free itself from needing re-enactment or sensuous expression in order to present an understanding of human agency, historical existence, and inter-personal dynamics. The chapter first considers a few aspects of the philosophical accounts of drama of Aristotle and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel before discussing an instance of ‘philosophical dramaturgy’ in modern philosophy: the presentation of the life-and-death struggle (or ‘duel’) in Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan and Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit. It then looks at William Shakespeare’s response to philosophical dramaturgy and shows how he presents us with a kind of infinite theatricality that is no less philosophical but that differs absolutely in its mode.

Keywords: philosophical dramaturgy, theatricality, drama, Aristotle, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, life, death, Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, William Shakespeare

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