Desire, Language and Pregnancy/Maternity in The Castle and Other Plays

  • Alireza FakhrkonandehEmail author


This chapter undertakes a delineation of the traits that distinguish Ann as the pivotal character in The Castle: her pregnancy/maternity, her ethics (of infinity) coupled with her mode of relationality with the Other (heteronomy), and her economy of desire (schizo-nomadic). More broadly, it will be explicated how Ann’s ethics of desire and economy of subjectivity reveals not only the prevalent economy of desire in Barker, but also what distinguishes Barker’s mode of tragedy from his classical and modern fellows—an anti-Oedipal model of desire and subjectivity in Barker’s Evental drama. It will be discussed how (1) pregnancy features as a liminal site of ethical process/practice, of moral ambiguity, and of re-subjectivation, thereby providing a transgressive space for deconstructing an identitarian, rationalist, and sovereign mode of politics and ethics. This partly stems from the depiction of womb—both in The Castle and in Barker more generally—as a choratic-chiasmatic space where the idealist paradigm of metaphysics, phallogocentrism, moral rationality, and unified identity are deconstructed; (2) the experience of pregnancy—both in relation to Ann and more generally in Barker—is depicted as an ethic-aesthetic practice-process which leads to self-overcoming (or becoming-other) in proximity to the event/Other; and (3) Ann’s schizo-nomadic and non-Oedipal mode of desire show how the libidinal-personal and social-political are concomitant. Hence, Ann’s fecundity is neither solely sexual nor spiritual. Her fecundity is virtually an aesthetic-ethical fecundity.


Pregnancy as a process/practice Aesthetic-ethic fecundity Ethics of ambiguity Non-Oedipal tragedy Schizo-nomadic economy of desire Heteronomous relationality 


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK

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