Deconstructing History: The Deconstructive Historiography in Brian Friel’s _The Freedom of the City_ and _Making History_
首先，我比較血腥星期天與《榮譽市民》的相似之處，並點出費爾如何將血腥星期天的歷史記敘中的兩大元素─斷裂的時間性(disruptive temporality)以及相互競逐的多重敘述(competing narratives)─巧妙地安排在他的劇作的複雜結構中。此外，若細剖劇中人物對話，便會發現許多人物言行前後不一，無法提供客觀的歷史記敘。費爾的《榮譽市民》亦強調歷史的文本性（textuality of history），並運用許多羅蘭巴特認為會破壞歷史客觀性的指示詞（shifters），來提醒觀眾在歷史中追求單一客觀的記敘乃是徒勞。
It is not uncommon that playwrights refer to historical events or figures in their plays. However, in Brian Friel’s The Freedom of the City and Making History, although Friel refers to historical events and figures known to the public, he does not repeat the traditional narratives that are familiar to them. Instead, Friel presents alternative historical narratives that are totally different from those are taken for granted. The thesis aims to probe into the intricacy of how Friel responds to Irish Revisionism by presenting deconstructive historiography in structure, plot arrangements, and characters’ conversations in his plays.
First of all, in addition to comparing the similarities between Bloody Sunday and The Freedom of the City, I point out how Friel ingeniously incorporates the two essential elements in the historical narratives of Bloody Sunday—disruptive temporality and competing narratives—into the complex structure of The Freedom. Furthermore, I argue that many characters undermine their objectivity with their self-contradictory conversations and behavior. Besides, in The Freedom, I recognize Friel’s emphasis on textuality of history and identify many shifters that are thought to dismantle the objectivity of historical narration by Roland Barthes. All the above arguments highlight Friel’s efforts to remind his audience that it is futile to pursue a one and only objective historical narrative.
Secondly, in the past, critics focus on interpreting the historical inaccuracies found in Making History. Some state that Friel emphasizes the divided-self of the colonized by describing O’Neill as an example of it. Some say that Friel stresses his artistic freedom in the play. And most critics argue that Friel highlights the impossibility of writing an objective and authentic historical narrative. To further these arguments, I discuss how the character Lombard practices the emplotment termed by Hayden White. I further conclude that Friel considers it is the historians’ responsibility to make a history catering to their contemporary needs.
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