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"We must love on another or die": The Ethic of Empathy in the AIDS Plays of Kramer, Vogel and Tucker Green

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abstract
This thesis examines three AIDS plays chronologically through the lens of what I call an "ethic of empathy". Each play recognizes the silence and seclusion found innately in the lives of AIDS victims and argues for a type of connectedness through empathy through the work of dramatic literature. The plays employ devices specific to the theatrical literary experience to explore an ethic of empathy. I will also examine this ethic in relation to Freud's theories of mourning and melancholia. Each play portrays the need to resist the full work of mourning due to the unavailability of empathy for the AIDS community. The plays hint at the possibility for full mourning to occur once the subjects of AIDS finally receive the human connection they so long for and deserve, but that remains only a potential future, not an actualized one. As Didier Eribon says, "life is haunted by those whom the disease took away" (310). One cannot begin the process of mourning or melancholia for an AIDS victim or the broader AIDS community without an initial, legitimate connection to someone from that community, a connection these plays seek to establish.
subject
AIDS
empathy
mourning
contributor
Longacre, Wesley (author)
Hena, Omaar (committee chair)
Franco, Dean (committee member)
Curry, J.K. (committee member)
date
2013-06-06T21:19:21Z (accessioned)
2013-06-06T21:19:21Z (available)
2013 (issued)
degree
English (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/38513 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
title
"We must love on another or die": The Ethic of Empathy in the AIDS Plays of Kramer, Vogel and Tucker Green
type
Thesis

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