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Florence March: The Wives'Excuse; or, Cuckolds Make Themselves de
Thomas Southerne (1692): la question du contrat, p. 136

Résumé

This paper focuses on the dramatisation of the notion of contract in The Wives' Excuse; or, Cuckolds Make Themselves (1692), a Restoration comedy by Thomas Southerne. As the title makes clear, the plot questions the social status of women, and more particularly of married women, at the end of the seventeenth century. Southerne's interest in social issues must be set against the political background. Following the Glorious Revolution, which puts an end to the king's absolute power over his subjects, the play challenges men's supreme authority in their families. Marriage contracts are here questioned in the private sphere just as the contract between the ruler and his subjects is questioned at a national level. Southerne's skill culminates in the play as the dramatist stimulates the spectator's reflection through an original pact of performance. The unstable relationship of the married couple, mirrored by the organisation of the scenic space, reaches a climax with the device of the play-within-a-play. The deconstruction of married life on the stage then rests on the deconstruction of theatrical illusion. The comedy thus ends with a stark denunciation of marriage as a game in a Restoration society based on show.


Note sur l'auteur

Florence MARCH est maître de conférences à l'Université d'Avignon et des Pays de Vaucluse et a soutenu une thèse de doctorat en décembre 2000 sur "La théâtralité de la comédie de la Restauration anglaise, 1660-1710"..



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Date de création : 07/03/2006 @ 14:22
Dernière modification : 07/03/2006 @ 20:45
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