Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

Postnationalist Heroines: Reelaborations of the Western Canon in Recent Chilean Theatre

Elsa M. Gilmore.

The female protagonists of Marco Antonio de la Parra's (Chile)1999 collection THE HEROINE: DRAMAS FULL OF WOMEN, imply the evolution of ideology from mechanistic models received from a deity or a moral authority and disseminated and enforced through male priests, fathers, or despots, to a new condition of material alienation from the conditions of life itself.
This paper argues that de la Parra's dramatic treatment of mythic female protagonists (the Roman matron Lucretia, the biblical Judith, and Shakespeare's Ophelia) frees the female body from the sexual control of a male-dominated, ideological nation-state, but not to replace that form of oppression with any notion of self-realization. Instead, in HEROINA, the former national heroines are cast into a late twentieth-century cannibalistic global village. The link between the female body and the body politic is severed and Lucretia, Judith, and Ophelia, like consumers of the title's homonymous narcotic, are cast into the role of faceless agents and objects of the literary and the global drama's hallucinating violence.


Elsa M. Gilmore  (United States)
Professor of Spanish and French
Language Studies Department
United States Naval Academy

  • Heroine
  • Ophelia
  • Judith
  • Lucretia
  • Post-nationalism
Person as Subject
  • de la Parra, Marco Antonio

(30 min. Conference Paper, English)