Place, Space and Identity in Modern Drama: Analysis of Four Selected Plays
Keywords:modern drama, identity crisis, Chekov, Miller, Saroyan, Yamuchi
Individual’s identity has always been expressed by abstract terms like culture, beliefs, religion, values etc. In this paper, I argue that modern playwrights show that the generations of the modern era tend to identify more with place, a concrete entity, than they do with the traditional constitutive elements of identity since these abstractions started to lose their glamour and value in an age marked by tremendous advancement in technology and materialism. With the modern generations increasingly associating themselves with place, an identity crisis has emerged since place is contingent to economic and social factors i.e. is not as stable as culture or religion. The vulnerability of modern identity turns it into a notion in flux, with no fixed or clear-cut boundaries. Thus, modern age people may live with multilayered identity or swing between two or more identities. Place, with whatever experience is practiced in it, remains the hinge on which modern identity revolves. To show that the phenomenon is a global one, the paper studies four plays representing different cultures and spheres—Anton Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, William Saroyan’s The Time of Your Life, and Wakako Yamuchi’s And the Soul Shall Dance.
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