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Dramatic shift: Conservative to Avant-garde in Sarah Kane’s “4.48 Psychosis”

Emmerencia Sih Beh

Abstract: Drama is a genre in literature that recreates not only existing actions but also interprets the different versions of truth put on stage. Sarah Kane, a dramatist, is usually associated with the new theatrical form of writing called the in-yer-face theatre. Kane, after writing her last play, 4.48 Psychosis commits suicide. For this reason, many critics consider this play as a ‘suicide notes’ which makes it limiting since these critics do not pay attention to her extensive use of styles and her experimental shift from conservative to avant-garde dramatic constructions. While her earlier works Blasted, Phaedra’s Love and Cleansed were centred principally on shock irritating violent and relatively hostile metaphors, the style of her two last plays Crave and 4.48 Psychosis shifts blatantly as they are written in a conspicuously poetic style. Her last play which is the focus of this study swings from conventional to unconventional style of writing given that she deviates from the classical presentation of drama. This study uses the theoretical backdrop of Postmodernism for its analysis. The paper demonstrates that analysing 4.48 Psychosis in connection to Kane’s life and death is restrictive and biased as it procures a plethora of innovative scopes.
Keywords: Psychosis / Kane / shift / drama / last play / Sarah / suicide / conservative / style / writing

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