Deformation/reformation of the body image of the female character in the dramatic works of Griselda Gambaro

Date of Completion

January 2003


Literature, Latin American|Women's Studies|Theater




In this study, I examine the body image of selected female characters in twelve dramatic works of the Argentine writer Griselda Gambaro (1928). I focus on the bodily deformity of the female characters and the way in which this deformity results from and is an expression of a subordinate social role for women. I divide these works into four historical stages according to the four decades in which they were created. These characters who begin as passive individuals that deceive themselves in their oppressed state, gradually become more conscious of their subjugated state, and later learn to use it as a wile and to become active beings who rebel and even break away from the opposition. Chapter I provides an overview of the sociological, anthropological, ethnic, racial and feminist studies that set the basis of the distinct concepts that form part of the social consciousness of women and other individuals in subordinate situations. Chapter II deals with three plays of the 60's in which the characters, incapable of revealing the causes of the aggression which threatens their elimination, employ all their energy in convincing themselves that such aggression does not exist and that a reasonable solution will be found. The acceptance of their designated passive feminine role manifests itself in grotesque physical deformities and places them in defenseless and mortal situations. Chapter III deals with three plays of the 70's in which the victims, once again incapable of accepting their situation, continue to elaborate fictions about the horrible reality. Here, the physical deformities, manifested in the body image, have become less exaggerated now that the social deformities have become more obvious. Chapter IV deals with four works of the 80's in which the victims who have differentiated themselves from their oppressors no longer deceive themselves in their state of oppression. Chapter V deals with a play from the 90's in which the female character is finally capable of breaking away from the opposition. Chapter VI provides some concluding remarks concerning the progressive liberation in the female characters. ^