‘in the grip of the monster’
in Precarious spectatorship
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This chapter begins with a discussion of tragedy, in particular the figure of the ‘scapegoat’ who must be sacrificed in order for the polis to reproduce itself. In the early twenty-first century, I argue that this figure has been replaced with images, and that the world they bring in to being is one of things, rather than subjects. The extremities of this process lead spectators to make images out of themselves which, I argue, is suicidal. I develop this argument through analysis of the rhetoric of Donald Trump, and examples taken from events between 2016 and 2018 where images of suicide have been circulated on the Internet. Drawing the conversation back into tragedy I conclude with an examination of Alice Birch’s (2017) play Anatomy of a Suicide, which I argue recasts the tragic hero in the light of a society that has become suicidal.

Precarious spectatorship

Theatre and image in an age of emergencies


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