7
“Ibi et ubique”:
The Incontinent Plot (‘Hamlet’)

Sworn to Secrecy

WALTER BENJAMIN’S discussion of the way the German baroque mourning play seeks to “reanimate” theatrically a world whose faith in the narrative of Christian redemption has been badly shaken reminds us of how central the question of life and death have always been to the theatrical medium—and to its repression. That medium has always assumed an equivocal position with respect to life and the living. On the one hand, it has claimed a certain superiority over other mimetic forms of representation precisely insofar as it involves living persons—living “means,” as Benjamin called it. On the other, the very mimetic function of the stage undercuts the claim to reproduce and perhaps redeem the living, a claim that in recent years has been adopted by television (“live programming”). But in the new media, no less than in the old, this emphasis on life only serves to underscore the ghostly nature of the screen as well as the stage: what it brings to life is not simply resurrected, but also embalmed.

It is not the least merit of the writings of Jacques Derrida to have explored, in the most varied configurations, the complicity of spectrality with theatricality. Nowhere is this motif more pronounced than in Specters of Marx. Readers of this text will doubtless remember the insistent and recurrent references to Hamlet as an exemplary instance of the singular relation of “spectrality” to theatricality. Derrida emphasizes repeatedly that spectrality distinguishes itself from spirituality by being inextricably linked to visibility, physicality, and localizability. Such traits distinguish the materiality of ghosts from the ideality of spirits in the sense of the Hegelian, philosophical Geist.

In a word, according to Derrida, what distinguishes the ghost from the Geist, the specter from the spirit, not just in Hamlet but generally,

-181-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Theatricality as Medium
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 408

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.