Revenge, Agency, and Identity from European Drama to Asian Film

Agents of Vengeance


Eric Dodson-Robinson’s Revenge, Agency, and Identity from European Drama to Asian Film challenges critical readings of drama, film, and literature that downplay agency. From Attic tragedy, through Seneca and Shakespeare, and into Japanese and Korean film, the book pursues the agent of vengeance in her fury to reconstruct an identity shattered by trauma. Tragic revenge is an imaginary theater only partly encompassed by disciplines, institutions, and discourses. In this theater, violence becomes contagious and potentially transformative as performance gives birth to the agent of vengeance: a complex, emergent agent who is more than the sum of the actors, auteur, tradition, and audience, all of whom infiltrate, and strive to control, her will. The agent of vengeance, determined to outdo past exemplars, exacts traumatic excess, not equivalence.

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Eric Dodson-Robinson, PhD (2009), University of Illinois, is Associate Professor of Comparative Literature at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. His publications explore violence and agency in Senecan and Shakespearean tragedy and their cross-cultural receptions.
1 The Psychic Body
2 The Body Politic
3 The Dramatic Corpus

1 Violence, Revenge, and Metaphor in Aeschylus’s Oresteia

2 Rending others: Ethical Contagio in Seneca’s Thyestes
1 Stoic Intertexts: Contagio and Ethical Agency
2 Foreclosure and the Senecan Logic of Revenge
3 Reges Scaenici

3 Failures of Language in Thomas Kyd’s the Spanish Tragedy and Their Relation to Senecan Revenge Drama

4 Self, State, and Conscience in Titus Andronicus and Hamlet
1 Self and State in Titus Andronicus
2 Self and Conscience: Hamlet

5 Karma, Revenge, Apocalypse: Ran’s Violent Victim-Agent through Japanese and Western Contexts

6 Agents of the Other in Chan-wook Park’s the Vengeance Trilogy
1 Body Politics of Mr. Vengeance: Harvesting Organs
2 The Riddle of the Chaebol
3 Park kata Aeschylou


General Index
All interested in revenge tragedy and film; agency; Shakespeare, Seneca, Aeschylus; and cross-cultural adaptations of the European dramatic tradition by Akira Kurosawa and Chan-wook Park.
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