Alicante Journal of English Studies / Revista Alicantina de Estudios Ingleses

Adaptation against Myth: Gary Owen’s Iphigenia in Splott and the Violence of Austerity

Rebeca Gualberto

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.2021.35.06

Abstract

This article explores, from the standpoint of socio-political myth-criticism, the processes of revision and adaptation carried out in Gary Owen’s 2015 play Iphigenia in Splott. The play, a dramatic monologue composed in the rhythms of slam poetry, rewrites the classical Greek myth of Iphigenia in order to denounce the profound injustice of the sacrifices demanded by austerity policies in Europe—and more specifically, in Britain—in the recession following the financial crash of 2008. Reassessing contemporary social, economic and political issues that have resulted in the marginalisation and dehumanisation of the British working class, this study probes the dramatic and mythical artefacts in Owen’s harrowing monologue by looking back to Euripides’s Iphigenia in Aulis, the classical play which inspires the title of Owen’s piece and which serves as the mythical and literary background for the story of Effie. The aim is to demonstrate how Owen’s innovative adaptation of the sacrifice of Iphigenia, slurred out in verse, resentful and agonising, speaks out a desperate plea against myth, that is, against a dominant social ethos that legitimises its own violence against the most vulnerable—those who, as in the classical myth, suffer the losses that keep our boats afloat.

Keywords

Adaptation; Gary Owen; myth-criticism; Iphigenia; austerity

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References

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.14198/raei.2021.35.06

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