It was suggested at the beginning of this discussion that it was not the author's intention to find an answer. But if there is anything that seems to be a common thread in exploring the idea of acting it is, ironically, the notion of dichotomy and paradox. Throughout the written history and criticism of acting, the actor tends to be spoken of in opposing terms. Without redundantly recapitulating the earlier argument in all its particulars, it is instructive that dichotomies, dualities, antinomies have cropped up in every aspect of the discussion. Diderot's title, Le Paradoxe sur le comédien,1 with Archer's Masks or Faces,2 probably represent the most evident examples of this ambiguity, and seem to bring us back to where we came in.
The very starting point of this discussion of acting was the phenomenological problem of the actor as both mask and face, self and character at the same time. We then saw that the semioticians' efforts were primarily aimed at doing away with ambivalence and creating a precise vocabulary to describe the act of performance. One of the weaknesses found in the semioticians' attempts was the metaphorical potential of the sign. What we may now call the otherness, the incorporeality it represents-as well as the corporeal human self.
Reviewing further, the actor, in psychological terms, was suggested to be in a state of controlled schizophrenia. Mythologically, the mark of Cain or kiss of Calliope was invoked. In the realm of religion, acting was perceived as both sacred and blasphemous; affirming and transgressing society's attempt to maintain a moral order. The Dionysian spirit, one of the catalysing dynamics of the dramatic act, is both ecstatically creative and demonically