Handwerkszeug des Theaters: Wiedererkennung

Rieger, Barbara, Department of Germanic Languages and Literature, University of Virginia
Department of Germanic Languages and Literature, University of Virginia

The purpose of this dissertation is to explore recognition as a distinctly theatrical category. My notion of recognition as the playwright‟s tool contributes to establishing and construing this theatrical category. As a tool of the playwright, recognition extends and goes beyond what Aristotle‟s anagnorisis in his Poetics offers for the study of theatre texts. Being primarily a literary category, a term of literary criticism, anagnorisis does not fully take into account the double structure of a text that was written with theatre in mind. The purpose of this study is to take this double structure of the theatrical text into account and ask anew how a playwright uses and works with recognition in a play. The study first investigates a dramaturgical understanding of theatrical recognition and then considers the potential anticipated effect of recognition and the recognition-play on the audience. The Iphigenie-plot as transformed by playwrights throughout the centuries gives the framework in which this theatrical notion of recognition is developed and outlined. Starting with Euripides‟ Iphigenie among the Taurians, continuing with Johann Wolfgang Goethe‟s Iphigenie auf Tauris and concluding with Rainer Werner Fassbinder‟s Iphigenie auf Tauris von Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, recognition is analyzed in its function as a theatrical tool within three completely different theatrehistorical settings. Recognition then is not a universal literary principle anymore, as Aristotle‟s anagnorisis suggests, but becomes a tool which playwrights use and work with in order to reflect upon and confront the function of theatre within their specific theatrehistorical contexts. Recognition then appears to work rather differently from Aristotle‟s III literary category anagnorisis. Rather than working from the unknown towards the known, - as Aristotle suggests for the workings of the dramatical plot - a theatrical recognition works for audiences against expectation, works its way back from the known to the unknown, and plays with audiences‟ desire for the familiar.

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PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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