Article Title

The Language of Cruelty in Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore


In lieu of an abstract, the first paragraph of the essay follows:

Though Antonin Artaud has been popularly deified as the mad martyr of the modern theater, his critical The Theater and Its Double deserves careful consideration not merely as an essential element in the bizarre alchemy of contemporary drama, but also as a provocative approach to orthodox dramatic theory. Indeed, Artaud's infamous "First Manifesto" of the Theater of Cruelty culminates in an apparently traditional program to stage "an adaptation of a work from the time of Shakespeare, a work entirely consistent with our present troubled state of mind" or other "works from the Elizabethan theater." Notions of traditional revivals are shattered, however, with Artaud's revolutionary stipulation that these "apocryphal plays" be performed not only "without regard for text," but that they be "stripped of their text and retaining only the accouterments of period, situations, characters, and action."1 By offering John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's a Whore as a paradigm of his proposed theatrical epidemic (TD 28-32), Artaud provides us with a convenient pivot about which we may examine the efficacy of his approach to the Elizabethan drama on the modem stage.

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