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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.65, No.2, 307 ~ 327, 2019
Communication and Communion on the Z String: Reading on Dead Man’s Cell Phone in Emmanuel Levinas’ Ethics
정윤길 Youn-gil Jeong
This article aims to explore the possibility of new interpretation on Sarah Ruhl’s dramaturgy by analyzing Dead Man’s Cell Phone in terms of Emmanuel Levinas’s ethics. Sarah Ruhl has found much success as a contemporary playwright, and her works focus on female protagonists. Ruhl’s works has been regarded as a feminist and the innovative methods she creates the play qualifies it as a significant contribution to feminist theatre. The relationships between the living and the dead have been a recurrent thematic concern in her works. Generally, The themes of Dead Man’s Cell Phone is said to explore America’s post-millennial fixation with wireless communication. Dead Man’s Cell Phone explores the fragmentation of conversations, voices, and lives, moves irreverently among subjects like mortality and memory. Emmanuel Lenvinas’ ethics is based on the Other / other. He argues that we are in an asymmetrical relationship with our neighbour that pre-destines us with ethical responsibility even before consciousness or choice. In the face-to-face encounter an infinity and alterity about our neighbour is revealed, which is irreducible to my ontological grasp-and thereby compels me to respond to him. It is also through this relation that our humanity is released as our solipsistic “all-for-myself” becomes a “being-for-the-other”. Furthermore, the “I” is irreplaceable, thereby making each of us ethically responsible for our neighbour, even to the point of responsibility for his material misery.
Key Words
Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Sarah Ruhl, Emmanuel Lenvinas, the Other, Ethics, 『죽은 남자의 휴대폰』, 세러 룰, 에마뉘엘 레비나스, 타자, 윤리학
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