chapter  2
25 Pages

King John and the ordeal of the bastard commodity

In Richard III, Shakespearean theater discloses ambiguities and aporias of the curse that impede its identifi cation with fi xed symbolic mandates. The play demonstrates that only one attitude can cope with these aporias: a sovereign irony that acknowledges the autonomous fi eld of representation, defi ned by the endless sliding of the signifi er, as the true sovereign. In King John, even this distanced position is absorbed into the theatrical representation and deconstructed on the spot: not only do the identifi cations fail, but also the de-identifi cation proves to be problematic, in consequence of which every resultant auto-da-fé of the ironists opens up new ironies.