Baillie, Dickens, and the theater of surveillance
MetadataShow full item record
As a result of the anxiety induced in the British mind by the terrors of the French Revolution, playwright Joanna Baillie deals with the Revolutionary theatricality by creating a theatrical observation machine. Using specifically physically and visually based, interpretive dramaturgy, Baillie encourages audiences to focus on minute details in order to analyze the psychology of her characters, and then encourages them to turn that gaze toward each other, creating a method of surveillance to combat anxiety, which, in turn, produces anxiety. In contrast, Charles Dickens, in dealing with the subject of the French Revolution in A Tale of Two Cities, shows the damaging results of unsympathetic curiosity, the dehumanization and paranoia of surveillance, and through the direction of gazes throughout the novel, emphasizes the importance of the privacy of the individual.