Abstract

Abstract:

This article analyses the 2013-2014 Dennis Kelly TV series Utopia and contends that the series is 'ghosted' by the presence of King Lear, in the sense developed by Marvin Carlson. Kelly had appropriated King Lear in his 2010 play The Gods Weep, which uses the action of Shakespeare to interrogate the Holocaust and the prospect of future human conflicts – even genocides – brought about by a worsening eco-catastrophe. The same thematics are present in Utopia and, though the series cannot be considered an appropriation of King Lear, the ideational relationship between Shakespeare, the Holocaust, environmental degradation and resource-conflict are apparent in the form of a visual and linguistic 'ghosting' of the play. I consider particularly the figure of Philip Carvel, who appears in Utopia as a distinctly Lear-like figure. A Roma Holocaust survivor, who plots with a shadowy organization to reduce the human population through mass-death events, Carvel typifies the way in which the ghosts of King Lear betray the conflicted re-memorialization of Roma Holocaust victims in Utopia and in European culture more widely in the 2000s and 2010s.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1931-1427
Print ISSN
0748-2558
Pages
pp. 185-204
Launched on MUSE
2021-08-11
Open Access
No
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