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Can Orton and Ravenhilll be described as radical queers - Essay Example

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The phrase radical queer refers to activism in favour of gay rights.1 In Sullivan’s description of radical political movements during the 1960s and 1970s, all indications are that radical queer would refer to an individual who advocated for political, legal and social change…
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Can Orton and Ravenhilll be described as radical queers
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Download file to see previous pages Still, there was a contention that Orton somehow managed to contribute to the movement for gay rights.4 Mark Ravenhill who was openly gay and forthright about being HIV positive weaved together plays that waged an assault on social structures and arguably advocated for social change for the oppressed including gays.5 This essay argues that both Ravenhill and Orton are properly characterized as radical gays. In order to demonstrate queer radicalism on the part of Orton and Ravenhill, this essay conducts an analysis of some of their plays that substantiate this claim. This essay is therefore divided into two parts. The first part of this essay analyses some of Orton’s plays as a means of demonstrating that he can be properly characterized as a radical queer. The second part of this essay also analysed some of Ravenhill’s plays as a means of demonstrating that Ravenhill was also a radical queer.
Nakayama argues that Orton’s plays were self-conscious creations of an alternative to the standard heterosexual society and in particular the “bourgeois norm of the nuclear family” as opposed to a “neurotic repetition of it”.6 Regardless there are two perspectives relative to whether or not Orton was indeed a queer radical. One perspective argues that Orton given the times in which Orton wrote, his plays indicate that he was “an advance guard of” the sexual revolution and a “sort of fifth columnist among sexual conservatives”.7 That some of Orton’s plays such as What the Butler Saw focused so sharply on clandestine sexuality that it was obvious that Orton was content to “remain in the closet without directly confronting the sexual powers that were”.8
The criticisms of What the Butler Saw arise out of what Orton failed to do rather than what he actually did in the play. Butler was written in 1967 before theatre censorship had come to an end. However, since ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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