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Madness, power and histrionism.

The management of otherness

An aesthetic space of the management of I otherness, by engaging a dialogue with the Other, and by the force of mediation and its interstitial structure (the mask of the actor as gap between non-human and human presence and visible and invisible absence), theater is (anthropologically) based in the ritual order of the transgression of limits. Based on the anthropological discourse of the otherness and the limit, the theatrical discourse is essential to the discourse of interstice, its ghostly spectral character being quite transparent in the personification of the interstitial structure of theater: "If the stakes of the representation of the ghost, of the incarnation of the returning dead, actually aim, for all these theorists, at the very essence of theater, this happens because of the challenges that the representation of the invisible is placing in front of it, and opens the way to a sum of interrogations on the very status of reality in the theater. A reality always made in relation to the death seen as a territory from elsewhere, from beyond the real, a reality always enclosed in a network of tension between life and death, the visible and the invisible, the material and the immaterial, the embodied and the disembodied. In fact, it is the ratio between the theatrical materiality and the spectral element." (Borie 2007: 9)

The exorcist ritual of the unconscious otherness

If the phenomenon of the epic asserts the strengthening of individual identity in a collective arrangement, the monumentalization of the hero by the agreement of the community that invests him with fame, recognizing him as representative and the theatrical experience, occurs on the land of collective solidarity crisis, of the deconsolidation of identity under the specter of a difficult to manage otherness, felt as threatening and invasive. An over-invested collective identity (for the collectivity itself is looking for a body and a voice through the figure of its hero) articulates, therefore, the epic space, anchoring cultural order of the world in the displayed body of the hero, in the same manner in which mythical order is guaranteed by the narrated cultural difference and thereby fixed in a transcendental exteriority; an identity stripped of the community coating, removed from collective guarantees, dissociated and therefore jeopardized by the fantasy of the Other from which it has unraveled in a guilty way, forms the founding structure of theatrical experience, seen in the Greek tragedy. One could situate the birth of the tragedy in the context of the transition from the Homeric culture of "shame" (the glory or the shame of losing it keeps the Homeric hero in the public eye) to a "culture of blame" to evade family solidarity and community in general. Being in the unanimous consent of the city it ensures the hero's glory, an identity haloed by the public opinion, while the loss of this social conformity dissolves an oversized identity into contempt and shame: "I say 'shame' and not 'guilt,' for certain American anthropologists have lately taught us to distinguish 'shame-cultures' from 'guilt-cultures,' and the society described by Homer clearly falls into the former class. Homeric man's highest good is not the enjoyment of a quiet conscience, but the enjoyment of time, public esteem." (Dodds 1998: 26)

Along the weakening of collective solidarity, the triumph of the hero is countered by the anxiety of guilt occurred in the context of the rupture of this triumphant "I" from a founding and supporting otherness; the representation of divine punishment (nemesis) and vengeful otherness appears, haunted by jealousy (phthonos) by the glory without measure, defiant (hubris) as a symbolic good that it had founded (thorough the unanimity of Homeric community) and which was suddenly removed from it. The whole fatalistic concept that prepares the grammar of tragedy, the idea that it is dangerous to be happy because this self-triumph (self-sufficiency) of man arouses the jealousy of the vengeful god comes from here. The penalty shoot comes from the fantasized otherness of old collective solidarity that returns to recover the symbolic self-sufficiency that the hero was delegated to represent. The self-sufficiency of the being or its impairing (the fantasy of an ideal identity) was adjusting the Homeric culture of shame by the brutality of its offenses brought to both gods and heroes, by the violation of honor and glory; but a radicalization of the conflict occurs only in the culture of guilt, of the merciless punishment, of bloody reprisals, of the retaliation of the injured otherness through death. Moreover, death, the suppressing of the tragic hero for the fault of self-sufficient self-assertion provides itself the code of tragedy; and the contagion of sin (the idea of inherited guilt) embodies the chain of family solidarity that the archaic Greece shared with other early societies. Issuing the individual from the ties of the family and the clan, in the light of the Athenian democracy and the Greek rationalism, determines the return of the fantasy of family otherness through the concept of this guilt inherited from previous generations, the universal fear of defilement (miasma) and the need for ritual purification (catharsis). The purification of the tragic guilt inherited from father to son, which structures the poetic tragedy's organizational approach (its purpose being, according to the Aristotelian formula, the purification of passions), becomes a rite of exorcism of the unconscious otherness (the alterity of the family, of the clan or social alterity with founding virtues and the claim to recover the right of foundation). Passion itself as emotional otherness (emotional excess felt as alienation, strangeness, demonic otherness) is concerned in this cathartic approach (the liberation of the soul from passions), the alternation between action and passion (the active affirmation of the self and the passion caused by excitement, the fall of the subject into object by ek-stasis) being the engine of the tragic poetics.

On the one hand, therefore, the tragic conflict aims at the dissociation of family and the social and the repercussions in terms of identity cleaved by withdrawing the founding otherness; on the other hand, the internalization of the tragic conflict translates into emotional terms as alternating the polar states of exaltation and fall, of brightens and darkness, of collapse and impulses. The Oedipal complex perfectly reflects the scattering of family solidarity in the same way in which the crisis of social differences is played out under the guise of royalty and the crisis of emotional difference (the alternating sates of euphoria and disphoria) reproduces the external crisis on an intra-psychic level, being motivated, to say the least of it: its birth through dissociation from the family and the social background. "As long as the old sense of family solidarity was unshaken, the system presumably worked. The son gave the father the same unquestioning obedience which in due course he would receive from his own children. But with the relaxation of the family bond, with the growing claim of the individual to personal rights and personal responsibility, we should expect those internal tensions to develop which have so long characterized family life in Western societies. That they had in fact begun to show themselves overtly in the sixth century, we may infer from Solon's legislative intervention. But there is also a good deal of indirect testimony to their covert influence. The peculiar horror with which the Greeks viewed offences against a father, and the peculiar religious sanctions to which the offender was thought to be exposed, are in themselves suggestive of strong repressions." (Dodds 1998: 49)

The genesis of tragedy into this fantasized otherness is also confirmed by Rene Girard who, starting from the analysis of the alternative structures underpinning the tragic agon, circumscribes the tragedy as a mechanism for the demystification of the cultural difference, of the suspension of its arbitrary and the revelation of chaos (in the form of endless retaliation) from the sub-order fixed by differences. The sacrificial crisis reflected by tragedy (the loss of symbolic efficacy of the sacrifice that through an atoning victim outsources violence fixing it in a cultural difference) is a crisis of the difference: "The sacrificial crisis should be defined as a crisis of differences, of the whole cultural order. This cultural policy in reality is nothing more than an organized system of differences; the differential deviations are those that confer identity of the individuals, allowing them align to each other" (Girard 1995: 57). In relation to the myth that secures the cultural difference through a transcendent symbolic story (the story of divine origin) and the rite, which maintains the mythical fixed order through a labor of organization and symbolic updating, the tragedy symbolizes the cultural difference fixed by myth and updated by rite, dissolving the themes of the myth and ritual efficacy into original violence prior to the restraint into a system of differences: "To our modern way of thinking a hero cannot be 'good' without ceasing to be 'evil,' and vice versa. Tragedy can help to resolve this difficulty if we agree to view the plays form a radical perspective. Tragic drama addresses itself to a burning issue--in fact, to the burning issue. The issue is never directly alluded to in the plays, and for good reason, since it has to do with the dissolution by reciprocal violence of those very values and distinctions around which the conflict of the plays supposedly revolves" (Girard 1995: 64). The violent reciprocity, the retaliation, the game of mutual annihilation constitutes the genuine program of tragedy that becomes the meeting space with the radical otherness of death. The mythical difference resolves the conflict in a formal, supporting logic (blaming Oedipus of parricide and incest, the myth organizes his destiny and puts a formal order on this situation); but reading tragedy subordinates the themes of parricide and incest to an exchange of tragic curses between Oedipus and Tiresias, who blame each other without being able to fix violence to one pole or to radically slice it (violence precedes the themes of parricide and incest organized by myth in a version of camouflaging violence). If the myth formally fixes the difference, establishing cultural order as endorsement of ordering reason, the tragedy dynamites the difference fixed by myth pointing to the abyss of disorganization and chaos, due to the loss of conventional cultural difference. The true tragic relation is played around this radical otherness revealed by the presence or absence of cultural difference, otherness of annihilation and death.

Covering Greek tragedy from the perspective of the topic of the otherness of the ghost and spectrality (in The Phanthom or the Doubt of Theatre), Monique Borie performs a complex repertoire of phantasmal figures behind which stands the radical alterity of absence and death: eidolon, the ghostly appearance in itself or the one of divine essence and the image appeared in a dream are all forms of the invisible became visible, brought to present precisely to bring the revelation of an absolute truth through their messages, of a knowledge with prophetic value, from beyond (pronounced from this world of spectra, the otherness of knowledge manifests as in the initiatory form of possession, as mania); practiced in a complicated ritual (with offerings of milk and honey, wine and oil, etc.), the invocations are likely to cause the otherness of the phantom, even if it will not be brought to the present into the image, eidolon (in Aeschylus's Oresteia all the action from Hoeforele takes place near the tomb of Agamemnon, Oreste's and Electra's invocations, and the chorus interfering into a game of echoes); the tragic hero himself is the incarnation of the un-avenged voice of an ancestor just as the voice of the murdered Emperor lives in the vigilante Orestes who becomes a murderer himself; inhabiting the border area between life and death as the agent of moral-just regulation of the untimely deceased, the tragic hero is a living dead, a corpse in the making (once she comes into the play, Antigone already walks among the dead) because it acts on behalf of the missing voice, becoming a dead person himself.

The inner experience of the tragic hero and his entire destiny is conducted under the specter of death, of this radical otherness revealed by flashing ghostly appearances: "The territory of tragedy is precisely this place of appearance, of communication with the invisible world of the gods and the dead. From this point of view, the talks about the origins of tragedy, the more or less accentuated focus on the link to the cult of Dionysus or, conversely, to the cult of the dead heroes lose their importance. The fact that the altar (thymele) present in the center of the tragic space is a god's altar or is eschara, the par excellence seat of the sacrifices made as offerings to the missing heroes, means however that in this center of the tragic space stands the dialogue with death and with divine powers." (Borie 2007: 62)

Established in the cult of Dionysus, the tragedy is based on a chtonian symbolic of the infernal gods (Hades, Persephone, Kore, Hecate, Hermes underground), Dionysos himself dying and reenacting (torn by the Titans, he is reborn from the thigh of Zeus); the destiny of the god is reflected in the tragedy he owns, to the extent that the tragic truth consists in the tearing of the cultural difference and the revelation of chaos. The symbol of a multifaceted otherness (mainly, the otherness of death and rebirth), Dionysus figures an initiatory relationship with difference, whose radical otherness is represented by the chaotic non-difference, death. "Founder of a relationship of initiation--ravishing, but finally bearable-with the difference, the different, founder of a variety of integration of otherness in the opening toward the Other, he is the one that cuts up the way to the experience of otherness under its terrible, threatening form, a devastating otherness involving chaos and death, adjacent to the figure of Gorgo' (Borie 2007: 66). Ambivalent deity of death and rebirth, Dionysus patrons the ancient theater (Greek and Latin) with its double face, tragedy and comedy, because comic representations are also related to the same complex ritual: if tragedy descended from the dithyramb (hymn dedicated to the god, played by a chorus engaged in a messy and fast ritual dance), the comedy descends from phallic songs interpreted in campestre Dionyses (small Dionyses); the name of the comedy derives from the public banquet (comos) in honor of the god of fertility, of vegetation and rebirth (the triumphant phallus carried in the procession was symbol of the fecundity).

The comic speech arises due to licentious improvisations, to jokes, retorts, insults thrown at each other from the duel in a general atmosphere of laughter, masquerade and disguise. The same game based on the cultural difference, fundaments therefore, the tragedy and the comedy, only that while suppressing the tragic difference it reveals the chaos of death (of the scary non-differentiation); the suspension, the inversion, the travesty of the comic difference reveals a partial deconstruction, hence, by the combinations and permutations, many forms and beginnings are possible. The report between tragic deconstruction and comic deconstruction would be that between radical deconstruction and partial deconstruction, of the cultural difference as the sole disguised actant; comic deconstruction does not cancel the difference, but only deforms it, reorganizes it on a rest, a root, a foundation (hence the provided safety favorable to laughter despite all the acrobatics of form), while tragic deconstruction practices a kind of eradication of difference, a brutal pull beyond which the goal erupts.

In other words, the revelation produced at the end of the satiric game with difference would be the radical otherness of chaos and death (the otherness of Other) and the partial alterity (tamed, domesticated) of the Other. Jean Baudrillard and Marc Guillaume (2002) trenchantly distinguish between the two figures of otherness: the radical otherness of a totally unknown Another (and therefore threatening, ingestible) and the tamed otherness to the reductions of the assimilated, accessible, partially known Other. In this logic of the relations of theater with the phantasmal otherness of the unconscious (individually or collectively) the predominant Roman option for comedy, and in improper forms for tragedy (except Seneca) translate the option for the assimilated otherness of the Other and the circumvention of a radical otherness of an un-assimilable, uncontrollable, unthinkable Other. The Roman Pragmatism and Constructivism as mentality generic features echo in this choice of partial comic deconstruction (the fecund regenerative pole of the Dionysian constructive assembly); the political reflex of reduction to the Other and the Other one (stratagem of the conqueror par excellence), of the continuous assimilation of otherness and of translation into personal codes also illustrates the mutual mirroring of a political gesture and a cultural taste. Therefore, the emergence of radical otherness of the conquered Eastern worlds, during imperial Roman times, put the Roman mind in a tragic situation, of the game with the difference in a radical way, insofar as the otherness of the Eastern worlds invades the Roman symbolic space (touching the very structure of power and the governance model, that of solar theocracy). The public and political spaces reflect the return of the repressed tragic, whose expression is found in the game with radical otherness of death, the alternation of political crimes and coronations, respectively in the resurrection on the power stage of parricide and incest as tragic themes: the dissolution of the theatrical structure in performances of body expression (the pantomime and the mime), the doubling of theater in the arena (as the place of voluntarily assumed carnage), the subordination of the emperor to the histrionic mask (Nero the actor) reveal the progressive exfoliation of the cultural difference up to the dissolution into undifferentiated and delirium. The mixing of the cultural codes through the contact with the oriental otherness causes the erosion of the internal difference of Roman identity to the undifferentiated delirium. Not incidentally, the authentic expression of Roman tragedy is the product of this decadent age and its author, Seneca, Nero's teacher and advisor, becomes the imperial scribe who recorded the governing powers (seime) of his epoch.

The Roman way: first, the comedy

The Romans' option for shows, games and circus placed above the dramatic art, for comedy in front of tragedy is an attitude given to the profile of conqueror of this people; its constructive and pragmatic spirit is oriented rather on external procurement than to internal splits (fundamental to the dramatic genre).

Disturbed by the radicalism of tragic deconstruction, by the crisis of foundations (family, social, individual) specific to tragedy, the Roman artistic taste felt more comfortable around comic disguise, of the promising drag of form performed in safe conditions, of relaxation and laughter. To tragic insecurity the Romans preferred the secure and fecund laughter, the convivial regenerating spirit, Saturnalic (Saturnalia, the most representative Roman festival ensures the organicity of the comic genre). An entire popular tradition of persiflage organically supports the comic genre. Spoken within improvised short stage performances, the fescenian lyrics (versus fescenninus) were satirical clashes, an exchange of bantering and rustic roles structured during an oral epigram containing sarcasm. A more complex representation is the satura, a hybrid composition as demonstrated by the very name (diversity of ingredients, mix): the alternation of sung parts with spoken parts, a mixture of mime, music, and dance making this a total popular theater in which the comic and the derision impregnated the atmosphere.

The mime and the atellana are the species of popular theater with a defined construction, so pleasant to the Romans that they doubled the cult comedy assuring its organic development; the system of the comic roles from the atellane will be assimilated and refined by Plaut and the mime, by reference to the critical social and even political actuality remained a long-lived species. Brilliantly represented by Plautus and Terence the Latin classical comedy assimilates the elements of this popular vein, infusing an original, organic spirit to the processed and adapted Greek models.

The availability of the Roman public to comedy, a genre contiguous with the full range of entertainment shows, naturalizes this theatrical species unlike the tragedy, for whose implementation took Rome a whole educational labor (the first Roman tragic authors, Andronicus, Naevius, Ennius, Pacuvius, Atticus were scholars and translators of Greek tragedies and their attempts remained at the stage of adaptations). Therefore, the resurrection of the tragic spirit along with Seneca in full imperial decadentism and near the actor-emperor Nero, is particularly relevant to a mental paradigm shift produced with the radicalism of a mutation. The organicity of the Senecan tragic supported by a baroque psychology of excess and cruelty, of paroxysm, convolutions and heavy bleeding, is symptomatic for the return of the repressed (the ignored, the circumvented) tragically fuelled through tradition from the comic reserves.

The proliferation of performances in a humoral delirium

A true vicious circle, the show policy pursued by Roman emperors narcotizes the masses, keeping them in apathy and under control, but dissolving the theatrical structure by adjusting to a shallow, bored, hungry for sensation audience, hastening the erosion of the idea of the center in terms of collective unconscious. The public's familiarity with the emperor, sharing the position of spectator, and the range of emotions aroused by its presence can be found in familiarity with the actors who gradually abandoning the solemnities of the discourse, at the same time with the dissolution of plays into pantomime, suspended the barriers of the stage and of the word exalted on cothurni and sliding into the communication of the immediate body. The continuity of the emotion, the sensation, the silent body expression passes the stage and the audience, the emperor and the masses with the same stream, putting into play the very idea of the border--theatrical, social, political--weakening the limitative power of the stage and expanding the emperor's authority into a convivial familiarity by the common sharing of the physical person. The public consumption of the crowned person amid the almost ecstatic consumption of emotions, songs, gestures, reflects the intake of the socio-political center, the ambiguity of this position felt at a time as over-ordered and distant an at another as close, familiar, common. The sameness of the spectacular consumption dissolves the very idea of limitation, hierarchy, structure, the theater becoming the space of these metamorphoses. The decomposition of tragedy into pantomime and of comedy into mime, during the imperial period, establishes the logic of sensation, of the simulated emotion and of the flashing feelings instead of the organized and segmented theatrical representation, substituting to the rigorous grammatical structure a humoral continuum exploded into delirium.

There is a real shift in the technology of theatrical representation relevant to the carnivalization of the Roman world in the imperial decadentism. Thus, despite some impressive luxurious theatrical buildings, in which it was excessively invested, the production of texts was exhausted, the repertoires being composed of ancient texts: the last composed tragedies to be played, Varius' Tyeste and Ovid's Medea were from Augustus' time, the last new comedies belonging to Pomponius Bassus, under the reign of Claudius; Seneca himself, in Nero's time, was content to read his plays in front of a specialized audience, in front of a circle of literati. The shrinkage of the textual dimension starts with this disinterest for new productions, audiences preferring already known texts that in the rumor and the generalized boredom, would not require concentration, waiting for the shorted consumption of sensations as explosive and as quick as possible. To this end, the prologue took over the whole load of the plot summarizing it, the masks and the costumes identified the social stereotypes in anticipation of the subject (white costumes for the elderly, colored for the youth, yellow for the courtesans, purple for the rich, red for the poor, mantle for soldiers etc.) so that, if everything was known from the start, there only the need to rekindled the feeling, to stimulate the emotion and the feeling, a general self-erotism remained.

Moving the focus from the production of texts to the production of emotions has homogenizing effects on the audience's social body pervaded through the changing flow of emotions, devoid of hierarchy statutes, gutted and eccentric to the periphery of feeling; weakening of the hierarchy of meaning, of the truth and moral value, supported and spread by text, explains the gradual disarticulation of theatrical performances. The loss of the theatrical pivot, the text, denounces the loss of the mental pivot (the logic of meaning, of morality and of truth) in the tumult of the proliferation of emotion as multiple roots (or, using a Deleuze-Guattarian term, as rhizome). The collapse of the theatrical structure thus reflects the fall in the regime of intensive emotion as first term against which any organization is a second limiting construction and the public's humoral subjectivity, captivated by the shorted effects and completely indifferent to media texts, is a symptom of the dis-organization of the social body, of the availability of the shared hallucination on the sentient surface (the Deleuze-Guattarian the body without organs, translates this projection). In this regard, the gradual disarticulation of the Roman tragedy and comedy is produced to the threshold of total exteriority of the pantomime and the mime, of the replacement of verbal language with the gesture; the refusal of the spoken word on stage designates the refusal of the whole significant system, of the meanings that had articulated the Roman world.

Once out of the text hierarchy, the public's taste prescribes more and more light and short theatrical recipes, leading to the incorporation, in a first stage, of the choir into the action dissolved into a lyrical incantation, therefore, to the transformation of tragedy into an opera and ballet show; later, the singer becomes a pantomime, able to embody through gestures all human types and situations, to occupy the whole scene giving up verbal language.

The metamorphosis of the Roman tragedy in the opera, and then in pantomime, involves modifications in the audience's reaction up to slipping into a collective histrionics: once the dialogues (diverbia) were gradually reduced to transforming the parts into a series of chants (quantity), so much repeated that they had become known to all, the theatrical representations become collective lyrical explosions, the public vibrating in unison with the actors in a broad pathetic outburst. Also, the popularity of the singer became the center of the stage around which musicians, dancers, extras, revolved as satellites, carrying the sensational show to the audience in the social space, exposing their privacy and all of its turmoil. Even in the time of Augustus, the pantomime Pylade was the town's sweetheart, and Nero himself envied their celebrity competing with emotion for the premieres. Finally abandoning songs too (taken from the choir) the pantomimes of Domitian and Trajan's time became only interpreters of the moving gesture language, perfecting the transformation of the tragedy into pantomime. Wanting more and more to impress and produce sensation, the pantomimes exploited the intensity of emotion, constituting repertoires focused either on dramas filled with horror and dismay, or on libidinous dramas (Carcopino 1979: 277). Corresponding to the disintegration of the tragedy in pantomime, the disintegration of the comedy in mime (a short buffoon verse farce open to the ribald, the caricatural, and the trivial) completes the transformation of the theatrical production into a carnivalesque production. Converting this drama is but symptomatic of a deeper carnavalesque of the Roman mentality for the invasion of the emotional-humoral difference from the public space in the political and social space.

Carnage in the amphitheater

The appearance of the amphitheater through the union of two theaters (as the etymology suggests) reflects a profound cultural and mental shift through this metamorphosis of the scene, it itself adopting a dissolving theatrical structure in the arena, as a place for tearing flesh, body de-structuring displayed in pantomime and mime. The duplication of theater into amphitheater closes like a trap the exposed body (for the abolition of all languages to the point of body language marks the transformation of the Roman theater into the purely gestural show) reflecting in this figure the new architecture of the Roman imperial world: on the one hand, the spring of the Roman expansion as much as the horizon of the inhabited world (oikoumene), on the other hand, the declined Roman center (despite monumentalization through the statue of the emperor), the self-devouring of the center modeled by the self-devouring of the body involved in the art of gladiatoring.

The show of gladiators that occupies the forefront of the spectacular imperial space (as the audience ecstatically left the theater for the arena), becomes the most explicit representation of a process that grinds the structures of the imperial world, dismantling all forms of assembly and organization under the pressure of the difference of the unmanageable manifold: the productivity of manifold (the huge agglomeration of population and codes) permanently overflows the administrative imperial body, disorganizing and projecting it on a delirious Code like the body without organs taken over by Deleuze and Guattari from Antonin Artaud ("What would be required is a pure fluid in a free state, flowing without interruption, streaming over the surface of a full body. Desiring-machines make us an organism; but at the very heart of this production, within the very production of this production, the body suffers from being organized in this way, from not having some other sort of organization, or no organization at all. 'An incomprehensible, absolutely rigid stasis' in the very midst of process, as a third stage: 'No mouth. No tongue. No teeth. No larynx. No esophagus. No belly. No anus.' The automata stop dead and set free the unorganized mass they once served to articulate. The full body without organs is the unproductive, the sterile, the un-engendered, and the unconsumable. Antonin Artaud discovered this one day, finding himself with no shape or form whatsoever, right there where he was at that moment." The very figure of duplication (the duplication of the theater building to compose an amphitheater) subscribes rebellion to the series of organization ("The series is completely refractory to a transcription that would transform and mold it into a specifically ternary and triangular schema such as Oedipus." Or, the body torn into the arena of the amphitheater is the clearest representation of this disorganized body, full, reduced to one carnal mass in a slaughter that occurs in the linear-binary system of the series of double theater: "This imageless, organless body, the nonproductive, exists right there where it is produced, in the third stage of the binary-linear series" (Deleuze & Guattari 2008: 14, 21). The actual history of this architectural innovation mentions Curion the Young as the author, who bringing together two wooden theaters so that games can be continued on the scene with the sacrifice (munus), held in the honor of his father, won the amphitheater: "Up to the time of Caesar those providing munera had either used the circus or hastily rigged up in the Forum palisades which were removed on the morrow. In 53 or 52 B.C. Curio the Younger, who's candidature for the office of tribune Caesar surreptitiously supported with Gaulish money, hit upon a new campaigning scheme. On the pretext of rendering honor to the manes of his lately deceased father, he announced that he would give scenic games supplemented by a munus. Ingeniously he ordered not one but two wooden theatres to be constructed, both very spacious and identical in shape but set back to back with their curves touching, and mounted on a swivel. [...] When Caesar offered a munus to the plebs in 46 B.C. to celebrate his quadruple triumph, he adopted the plan of--the wooden double theatre." (Carcopino 1979: 284)

Destined to death shows in various forms and crossbreeds (the famous venationes, the hunts, used to mix into the arena ferocious animals like the bear with the buffalo, the elephant with the rhino etc., but also people with animals like lions, bulls, tigers) the arena acquires its prestige through the art of gladiatoring, of the life and death confrontation under the gaze of the ecstatic audience. Death professionals, the gladiators were voluntarily employed (except for some prisoners who were offered to be gladiators as a chance) in this carnal trade because at the end of successful transactions with death, they were rewarded with money, fame, popularity, sometimes gaining their freedom. The appeal for this sordid and gruesome profession is not far to see: "What gladiators wanted more than anything, whether they came from a rich environment or from slavery, was fame, fight and money. For, each winner would receive a bag full of gold coins, which was thrown into the arena after the fight. Finally, they had all the women they wanted. Even ladies belonging to the high society!" (Veyne 2009: 139) Cumulating inside the spectrums of death, of the victim and the killer, of the suicide and of a living corpse, the gladiator's profile aroused a mixture of fascination and horror as he embodied the absolute transgression between the instinct of pleasure and death, a merge between the two. A kind of theatrical sadomasochism reasons the place of the gladiators in the arena, for the dual role assumed by them (that of the murderer and the suicide) plays the radical transgression of death as the ultimate obstacle, aspiring to the quasi-divine sovereignty glimpsed at the end of this transgression. The entire structure of mimetic desire would be staged in this manner (or, more precisely, in the arena) since behind the rival in the game there is death, as the absolute rival, the fetishism of supreme violence revealing the actual abyss of desire: oriented towards the ambivalent figure of a model who is both an obstacle and a rival, as far as it evades its own possession, desire and violence are intimately linked. The most searched violence in the gladiatorial arena is the insurmountable obstacle, the deliberate game with the death of the other and one's own death: "Violence becomes the signifier of ultimate desire, of divine self-sufficiency whose beauty depends on its being inaccessible and impenetrable. The victim of this desire both adores and detests it. He strives to master it by means of a mimetic counter violence and measures his own stature in proportion to his failure. If by chance, however, he actually succeeds in asserting his mastery over the model, the latter's prestige vanishes. He must then turn to an even greater violence and seek out an obstacle that promises to be truly insurmountable" (Girard 1995: 161). The theatrical sado-masochism assumed by the gladiators in the arena sets the ratios between desire and violence: "What we call masochism and sadism confirms that this is so. It is about imitating the model, insofar as it embodies violence" (Girard 1999: 372). Metaphysics of violence start the conjunction of pleasure and of supreme pain, of ecstasy and death in the art of gladiators as succedaneum of the old sacred, the origin of this art to be found in the funeral rites and the violent fabrications around the deceased in a sign of despair (pulling one's hair, self-injuries, and duels): "Roman gladiatoring is transforming for pure pleasure these duels held at funerals into a show" (Girard 1999: 134). Understood as a scene of this metaphysical violence similar to desire, the arena becomes the metaphor of the deconstructed abyss of the collective unconscious; reflecting the desecration of ancient sacrifice and refining as art, the arena reflects a sacrificial crisis by the proliferation of carnage, the fall into the violence sacredly managed into the contagious impure violence (actually the bloody arena games occur on the base of the old human sacrifice, munus: It is beyond our understanding that the Roman people should have made the human sacrifice, the munus, a festival joyously celebrated by the whole city, 130 or come to prefer above all other entertainment the slaughter of men armed to kill and be killed for their amusement." (Carcopino 1979: 282)

Actively disposing of death, is the attitude that feeds both the Roman suicide (there was even a pattern of suicide convictions in the imperial convictions) and the art of gladiatoring, the deliberate game with death sending a self-volitional display, at an affirmation of the uncontrollable, chaotic individual difference ("for the feeling of actively disposing of oneself causes a drunkenness under whose influence man feels eternally valid"--Veyne 2009: 109). For, which customizes gladiatoring amongst all the other collective horrors is voluntarism. Each of the positions involved in such a show aimed to feel the absolute decision, omnipotence: the winner was holding the fate of the defeated, the audience also felt like the Gods having the power to decide the pardon or the death of the loser, the loser himself practiced the powerful self-sufficiency having the courage to admit defeat and face death with an impassive expression. ("A gladiatorial combat is not a fair duel in which weapons are decided: its purpose is to compel an unfortunate person to declare himself crushed and to leave his life in the hands of a public that feel their omnipotence in the moment when a man is awaiting the sentencing. What is exciting to see is the face of the waiting man, then his face when he is killed: this is exactly the professional honor of the gladiators, to remain fearless in those unforgettable moments of the show; what had happened until then tended only to this end" Veyne 2009: 115). This hallucinatory mixture of voluntary self-affirmation, pleasure pushed to ecstasy and carnage demonstrates the abysmal infrastructure of the art of gladiatoring: its proliferation into the imperial period conjugates with a sacrificial crisis and a crisis of solidarity of the whole social body, due to which the internal difference of the self falls into a chaotic slip, intersecting the impulses of sexuality and death. Considering gladiators as prostitutes of dead is an attitude that translates this abyss to the public opinion: "This last attitude is most common in Rome: the gladiators enjoy admiration, but it is not proper to seek their company: the gladiator and the courtesan formed a consecrated pair of words, as the pimp and the lanista, i.e. the gladiatorial impresario" (Veyne 2009: 127). The escape of the crowds of spectators from theater (itself dissolved into feelings, emotions, moods) into the arena reflects, in the level of collective imaginary, the force of attraction of the abyss; the carnage of the arena brings to the limit the gradual exfoliation of the theatrical body of discourse, continuing this process by unfleshing the body of pantomime in these carnage performances and by the chaotic affirmation of the egocentric dream to the divine omnipotence.

The repressed strike back

If the essence of the theatrical phenomenon is related to the management of otherness, be it a social or psychological otherness (alterity of the unconscious), the saturation of Roman public space of spectacular elements (games, shows, ritualizations of daily sequences, displays, exhibitions, all kinds of simulations etc.) is symptomatic for the shorting of the device for theatrical over-watching of this otherness fantasized in imperial decadentism. Theatrical supervision is a mechanism immanent to the theatrical device, but also defines the methods of subdividing textual mater into closed units transited by infiltrated looks of hidden witnesses who bring forward, unveil, expose the secured and classified information in these theatrical cells. Divided between stage and spectator, the dramatic space is open to the scenario of otherness and of the supervision of knowledge and recognition between the self and the other, as a journey on the dark territory of the one that resists as a dark figure despite all the partial revelations: "The world is fractured and the show finds itself faced with this fault that, in the context of horizontal supervision, always results in someone's intervention. No matter the reasons, the two sides are suddenly face to face and, together, make up the image of the split universe. The origin of this division--which exacerbates a scene--is the given dramatic situation, supervision. It involves the physical presence of at least two persons, opposite to each other. This is the lowest common denominator of supervision, collective activity undertaken preferably by members of communities with divergent socio-political projects. In addition to the division, supervision is therefore associated with the opposition of the terms of this equation, with the conflict between them. The division and the opposition of the parties engaged in the act of surveillance stand at the base of this never free, never disinterested practice" (Banu 2007: 24). Oscillating between watching and surveillance ("The spectator is a night watchman, a watcher"--states the same theoretician), the theatre look describes this arch of complicity and hostility which polarizes the relationship between identity-alterity taming it or making it rigid through a game of closeness and distance, of attachments pushed up to the confusion between self and the other (simulation, transvestite, role transfer) and of the violent, hostile separations filled with agonistic affect: "Through the intensification of the watching, the surveillance act, although related, changes its status and nature. So, the night watchers duked in the room become surveillors, as if, in their case, we would witness an intensification of the watching. The watcher pays attention to the theatre, to his past, which is still vibrating, to his memory which sometimes revives and to the games which he develops; the watcher, also sunk in the dark, spies the beings, weighs them, judges them, but most importantly doubles them, with his own view, the view of watching what is happening on the stage. He requested to double the watching, which represents his natural status for passing on the side of the watching, observing the traps and subterfuges which are built on the stage." (Banu 2007: 10)

The theatre as an archaic experience of watching and surveillance originating between the self and the other functions, as a device of exorcism, control and objectification of the otherness' fantasies, the purification of passions (catharsis) homeopathically enabled within the theatrical representation also being a means of keeping the shadows of the unconscious away (individual, collective) and secure the borders of identity endangered by the intrusion of a fantasized otherness. Instance of repression and control of the fantasmatic unconscious, the theatrical device protects the identity ground of the invasion of otherness through a stage projection, acts preventively and curatively against a radical, threatening and explosive otherness, resurgent in the phenomena of the irrational, madness and death. Therefore, bypassing the monitoring and purification device by Roman decadentism's sympathy for the spectacular gratuity (instead of circumscribing, isolating and designing, like the stage, the performance arena proliferates the fantasies of madness and death) causes the resurrection on the public stage (the public space and the imperial palace as the seat of power) of what was not castrated, censored, repressed on the stage; because it does not isolate, like the stage, the arena reverberates the dis-figured phantasized contents (stripped of the figurative shell of theatrical personification), propels irrational cores of triumphs and deeds (winners and losers), it becomes contagious at a collective level. In the absence of a supervised and supervisor scene, isolating and securing, the whole world becomes a stage, namely an arena haunting the spectra of madness and death.

Madness and death sympathy for Roman emperors merely condense these inflows free roaming in the (mentalitary) public space novel. Nero's histrionism (qualified by historiographies as the actor emperor, the citared emperor, the histrionic) would only be the coagulation in a position, in a status, in a role (the actor and the stage) of the irrational unleashed in the arena, the expression of a need for theatrical supervision of an imaginary collective fantasmatic overwhelmed, outbid, invaded, engaged the slope of a true psychosis. Assuming the histrionic status along with the imperial one (emperor-actor engaged in tours as a professional, giving performances on the Greek and Roman scene, allowing to be artistically rewarded and promoted) is, beyond the inclination for the theatre gained through education and certain biographical circumstances, mark of the transgression of two figures of wild otherness, madness and death (as Monique Borie qualifies this double fantasy of the unconscious exorcised in the Greek tragedy). The appeal to theatrical simulacrum (Nero-actor) is the fantasy projection in an assumed role of insanity as internal otherness, transgression of it by channeling in status, in a role; on the other hand, the leap in order of the simulacrum reflects the effort of the transgression of an external radical otherness, of death as a political mechanism of self-protection has become a pattern in the imperial policy (long series of improvised processes followed by convictions, executions, forced suicides, exile etc.). Numerous internal and external conflicts will lead Nero to the transgression of the otherness barriers in simulacrum through assuming the histrionic status as doubly simulated (emperor-actor), as displacement and disguise of the political center (power and executive orders: death) in the aesthetic center (the stage centrality of the actor Nero).

Moreover, being staged repeatedly and organized the emperor-actor repeats himself the centrality position to which he was intended by a complicated family political gear (all Agrippina's maneuvers of enthronement of her son); what must be preserved, maintained and consolidated in the power regime (the central emperor position) is repeated (therefore displaced and disguised) in the regime of the spectacular theater sight (the need to be the center of the eye as the center stage). The historiographers mention the excitement which he invested in each entry scene, the fears of stage failure, the need for premieres, total vulnerability ("It is hard to believe what anxiety he was competing with, with what envy he was watching the opponents and what fear he had of the judges. Even in tragedy, when he dropped the scepter in his hand, he raised it quickly, trembling with fear of being excluded from the competition for this mistake, and did not regain composure until an actor assured, swearing that he did not notice this detail, because of the noise of feet and public acclaim"-Suetonius 1958: 247). Or, this centrality repeated in the gaze of the theater system, dependency of the emperor-actor on the collective eyes of the public, the revival in the horizon of this look are symptomatic of phallic fantasy transported by the look as partial object (a); what Nero repeated by shifting on the orbit of the polarity of the statuts of emperor-actor is the phallic fantasy and central identity, continuously threatened, on the one hand, from the imperial entourage, a number of competing otherness (his half-brother, Britanicus, his mother Agrippina, his own wife, Octavia, his mentor Seneca, etc.), on the other hand, from the exotic otherness of an imperial world extended far beyond the boundaries of the Roman imagination focused on the city (civitas). The failure to manage this otherness (immediate otherness, of imperial entourage and distant otherness, of the eastern extension of the Roman world) determines by ricochet the targeting of the self and identity, the theatrical staging of the self through staging as fantasy a spoiled identity just by withdrawing guarantees of the other, as simulacrum.

The self-simulation is framing the internal difference of the self in a system of a perceived otherness, as repressive (immediate otherness of the imperial palace) or as seductive (the oriental mirage that absorbs it overwhelming it with masks). The simulacrum has to do with the order of the pure, native, internal difference reported to the mental systems, it translates the pulsating, differential, exciting nature of the unconscious: "The unconscious is differential and out of low perceptions, but that is why it is different through nature from the, it regards the problems and the questions, which are not reduced to the major opposition or the overall effects which consciousness receives from it" (Deleuze 1995: 164). The simulacrum or fantasy is the effect of this difference always moved and always disguised in the unconscious carnival: "These differential systems with disparate and resonant series, with somber precursor and forced movement are called simulacra or fantasies" (Deleuze 1995: 189). By assuming the status of an actor, as the double of the emperor, Nero merely expresses the carnivalized difference of the self, difference always moved and always disguised in a series of masks ("The essential lost character of the virtual objects, the essential character transvestite of the real objects are strong motivations of narcissism. But when the libido returns or discharges over the self, when the passive ego becomes entirely narcissistic, it does internalizing difference between the two lines, and always feeling moved to one, always disguised in the other. The narcissistic ego is inseparable not only from a constitutive wound but from the disguises and displacements that are woven from an end to another and constitute its change. Mask for other masks, disguise under other disguises, is distinguished by its own self of buffoons and he goes limp on one leg green and one red. Mask for other masks, transvestite for other transvestites, the self does not distinguish itself from its own jesters and he walks limping on a green foot and a red one." (Deleuze 1995: 167)

But this carnivalized difference of the Neronian self that emerges in public histrionic stance translates, in fact, the collective psychodrama of the Roman world which liberates through the sequence of the Neronian histrionism the own difference carnivalized by the self through histrionic Neronian own self by the collision of two mentalitary infrastructures, one centered on civitas (the organization of the Roman world around the city) and one more off-center, eccentric: "But for these interior and moral frontiers to persist, there was need of another border, that external, material and institutional one: the city of Rome. However Nero and his people did not see this border anymore" (Cizek 1986: 151). This exotic otherness (anti-city with boundaries dissolved in the oriental world) fuels the repertoire of masks, poses, disguises of Nero the actor and the Roman world is narcotic and dissolved, while the immediate otherness of the imperial power scenes (palace scene) acts restrictively, coercively, oppressive, it is a rigid mechanism that produces power through death (the trials and executions are a pattern of imperial power conservation); caught in the vise of the otherness of opposite sign (one over-centered, the other dis-centered up to the eccentric gratuity) the character Nero, the emperor-actor, also through the Neronian performance, the Roman world as a whole, is intended for dissimulation as the only way of fantasizing the original, internal difference.

The appeal to theatricalization is a transpersonal cultural imperative, ideologically mentalitary, insofar as it involves remembering the original position of the scene, that the management of the ontology of identity and otherness, respectively that of preventive and curative system of identity diseases. The Neronian scene is a return of the repressed theatrical collective, consequence of the transformation of the power management of the stage in the power of arena contagion (the Roman option for arena). The invasion of otherness (in its narcotic or oppressive form) is the one shaking the foundations of the collective unconscious (and individual Neronian) revealing the theatric repression and its cathartic power in healing the identity disease; otherwise, making from the episode with the reign of Nero a distinct ideological-mentalitary sequence, Neronism, the nodal character of this sequence for historical metamorphosis of the Roman world was detected: "Curiously, Nero's megalomania, his boundless vanity, sickly fear of rivals were actually the signs revealing the destruction of the old Roman world" (Cizek 1982: 151). Also, the theatrical sublimation of Nero's fascination for the eastern extension of the Roman world: "The emblematic event of Neronism, the triumphus from 68 will be therefore for its orchestrator the opportunity to assert Hellenism more than ever. The empire he is dreaming of and which takes shape little by little is not, as I said, at all political, but cultural and axiological. He was not dreamt by a prince-emperor but by an emperor-citared, a leader emperor, who, unable to root in the ancient Roman world the new socio-cultural code designed for this purpose, develops it on stage and at the circus." (Cizek 1982: 150)

In fact, getting up on the stage of this compressed world is implicitly a call to the power of organization, of realization of the connection between the self and the world, between the Neronian self-repressed by the immediate otherness of the world the palace and machinery of the power, respectively the proliferation of differences, disguises and masks from the oriental props. Archetypal organizer of the relationship identity-otherness, the scenic space has delineation capacity and supervision of these instances, and his obsessive repetition during his Neronian acting journey is a symptom of the Roman political and ideological disorganization and also a warning, an imperative need for recalibration. A world accustomed to the systematic conversion exercise of the otherness of Other in the tamed otherness, assimilated by the Other One (countless conciliations, assimilation, symbiosis between the Roman foreign element, both in the political models, Augustianism and also in the plan of the cultural patterns) it is suddenly exposed to radical, ingested, threatening alterity, of the pure Other. The resurrection risks of this radical alterity where the domestication practice is installed domestication of the Other and the reduction the accessible component of the Other: "To say things simply, in every other (autre) there is the Other (autrui)--which is not I, which is different from me, but which I can understand or even absorb--and there is also a radical, assimilable incomprehensible and even unimaginable otherness. And the Western thought continues to take it for the Other (autrui), to reduce one to the Other (autrui). To bring the on to the Other (autrui) is a more difficult temptation to avoid the more the radical otherness is always a challenge and as it is destined to reduction and oblivion in analysis, in memory, in history" (Baudrillard & Guillaume 2002: 6). But, the social management of the Other in a space that takes the Other as another can reach a deadlock, triggering a rash of forces of this eclipsed otherness able to change individual or collective destiny "But in this management of the Other, remains a rest. In the other there is an ingestible, threatening, explosive otherness. What was embalmed or normalized may awaken at any moment. The actual return or the mere presence of this unsettling otherness is at the origin of one singularity, of accidents, of catastrophes. Such points of chaos make history split, they individually or collectively change destiny." (Baudrillard & Guillaume 2002: 8)

The antiquity is for the Roman world the figure of this radical otherness that pervades the Latin mind on projecting on it a social-dramatic model, centered on concepts like persona (public mask social role) and dignitas (dignity, noble behavior, distinguished appearance, rank). The entire axiological constellation of the City re-semantisises and redistributes it according to the new mentalitary indicators: libertas, the central value of the City, narrows its sense, it re-contextualizes and nuances politically becoming more of a securitas, the individual safety; the discipline, aesthetic and moral value, is charged with military connotations; the old fides (loyalty) and pietas (devotion) values blur their civic-religious basis, becoming marginal etc. The social drama of antiquity and the Neronian psychodrama sustain themselves and reflect each other, prescribing a new theatrical structure of the new isomorphic Roman world with the inhabited world, oikoumene increasingly difficult to manage through a fixed structure (Rome as the center, the Town, the City): "Starting with centuries I before and after Christ, but especially the second century AD, the Romans did not see their city boundaries, in this case Rome, or their hometowns, whether they were in Italy or in the provinces. Therefore they lost any sense of solidarity with the City and its inhabitants, feeling, instead, part of a population settled on a vast territory. No doubt, it was the territory of the empire, but when the City disintegrated as a mental structure, he seemed to be an anti-civitas" (Cizek 1998: 37). Nero-the actor, playing to an audience equally Roman and Greek, fantasizes the difference of the self in the carnival itself, and implicitly the self-difference in the Roman world overwhelmed by an exotic otherness. The Neronian episode can be seen in a transition episode: "Nero 54-68 AD tried to impose a new value system of two characteristic meta-values, sports competition, the Greek type, so disinterested (agon), and luxury (luxus) and a carnival way of life. Even if this axiological reform failed rapidly, the golden house (domus aurea) the huge palace park paradise created by Nero in Rome--and open to entire population of the capital--highlighted the first milestone of the inevitable evolution towards a new mental structure." (Cizek 1998: 37)

Blending circus with theatre, Nero translates the confusion of his taste (which is the taste of the Roman world) the face and reverse of the spectacular device overall, which marks the Roman decadentism, the tension between unity and diversity (scene unity and public diversity), the tension dissolved into a real agonistic bleeding during the gladiatorial spectacles, circus etc., the monitored, disciplined tension, organized in pre-fixed role playing through a cultural tradition and a canon, in theatrical performances; as if a prey to a contagious tearing of the arena (inability to organize) the Roman world repeats through Nero--the actor need for theatrical structure. Therefore, theatering the unconscious and the conflict with the global productivity of a factory unconscious, apply to this double facet of the Roman world (exploded in Neronian sequence), that of a uncontrollable cultural diversity and productivity, respectively that of the need for political unity more difficult to enforce. Theatering, rendering the Roman scenes as histrionic, Nero gives shape to a collective unconscious of an overflowing cultural, dizzying and threatening productivity as unknown radical otherness. Playing on stage Greek plays, Nero always pretends to be another, exploring the hallucinating otherness of this Roman extension (the exotic of the new conquered worlds), he simulates and dissimulates, obtaining with the price of the elision of his imperial identity connections with this exotic otherness. As for the dynamics of social travesty games (games of anonymity and pseudonyms): "Choosing a name protected by the screen or texts, they can easily practice a sort of textual disguise, assumed with a perfect impassivity and even certain innocence. In all cases exempt from identification rituals, exchanges are loose; they can tie relationships that would be unthinkable in a normal and binding social context. The identity elision, like that of a letter at the end of a word facilitates connections" (Baudrillard & Guillaume 2008: 23). Not only that this seemingly harmless and superficial game can close on the players, because apparently missing a court of truth, may favor the intrusion of otherness in the subject and the birth of an effect of truth as truth of the matter: "Even when the spectral exchange does not commit to anything because it lacks an instance of truth, it favors some sort of absence of the self, he may, in certain cases, produce truly unexpected effects. This irresponsible utterance, often aggressive, obliterated, this simulacrum of communication can rise to alterity in the subject, as the discourse of the unconscious. It can give rise to a maieutics truth of the subject, an otherness that would come from the subject itself, which would still be a source of alteration" (Baudrillard & Guillaume 2008: 23). The truth of the Neronian simulation reflects the truth of the Roman world suspended between the abyss of death (of the crime as a means of preserving the centrality of power in the imperial palace) and that of madness as Dionysian resurrection of the manifold (of the diversified collective unconscious) at the border of the two abysses, Nero simulates, dissimulates, plays on the stage which screens the unconscious projecting it cathartic in shape, giving it shape. Not coincidentally, the two fundamental sources of the Roman imperial historiography, Tacitus (Annals) and Suetonius (Lives of the Caesars), mirror Nero's biography, one in terms of the crime (Tacitus: "The first murder that begins the new principality was the death of Junius Silanus, Asia proconsul), the other through the histrionics destiny (Suetonius arranges Nero's coming on stage in the biographical scene through a double goal: the solar, anticipating the solar Neronian theocracy through the birth under the first rays of the day, and buffoonery of the baptism.

Anti-Oedipus: from the "most beloved mother" to matricide

Attentive to causality, conditions, determinations, the conjunctures in which events occur in an organic development, Tacitus places Nero's ascension to the throne and his entire government in a complex of power conservation through crime; a chain of trials and executions processes anchors the imperial power throughout history, but the Neronian sequence excels through cruelty and chaos, it is a precipitated of the haloed crime of matricide. The first murder that starts Nero's principality was prepared backstage by Agrippina and anchored in previous crimes as camouflage and prevention (for the victim of this crime, Junius Silanus was the brother of Lucius Silanus, ex-fiance of Octavia, the daughter of Claudius and wife of Nero, forced by Agrippina to commit suicide, the fear of revenge and of jeopardizing the position of the new prince determines this debut murder debut that Nero's own principality was acquired through murder and incest: the marriage of Agrippina to his uncle Claudius and his poisoning for the enthronement of her own son): "The first murder that begins the new principality was the death of Junius Silanus, the proconsul of Asia; it was prepared without Nero's knowledge by Agrippina's intrigues." (Tacitus XIII: 1)

Initiator in the art power management through murder, Agrippina will end up becoming a victim of the mechanism itself inoculated to his son, whose perfect monstrosity will be matricide. Between the most beloved mother the password which the new prince had given to the army (recognizing the contribution of his own mother to his enthronement) and the matricide there develops a wide circle of power and murder insurmountable trap that will collapse Nero himself forced in the end to commit suicide. An oedipal pressure marks the imperial power stage, articulating the power levers and its conservation strategies (Agrippina's incestuous marriage to his uncle, Claudius, and the poisoning the prince, model passed in Agrippina's alleged incestuous connection with Nero and the matricide. This oedipal atmosphere inside the palace, this consumption around the exercise of power, reflects though the distortions of the system, the excessive centralization as self-protection towards the de-centralization of the territorial Roman world: overuse of the center up to its phallic transcendence (the model of solar Neronian theocracy embodies this transcendent report) it stimulates the oedipal atmosphere around the power, because the over-signified center (now center of Meaning) substitutes the paternal, phallic signifier engaging mothers in the incestuous race of overthrowing spouses for the sons (there is a pattern of imperial complicity mother-son in race for power). The activation of the Oedipus complex on the imperial power stage has to do with the structure of this power, the tension around the ideal center (the City, Rome) as the actual decentration loses boundaries through expansions. The Oedipus complex could be explained as an arriving point at the level of family formation of a balance of power present at the level of social formation: "Oedipus only apparently represents a start, whether of historic or prehistoric origin, whether as a structural foundation. He represents a completely ideological start for ideology. In fact, Oedipus is always and exclusively represented as a set of dates for a starting up a sample of social formation." (Deleuze & Guattari 2008: 139)

If placed at the boundary between the molar organization of structures and assemblies, and the molecular multiplication of codes, Oedipus internalizes the limit, organizing it, the Neronian matricide dynamiting the Oedipus after he internalized and played on stage the power scene. The matricide and histrionics of the emperor-actor Nero, dissolves Oedipus after he played him during his accession to power, abandoning himself to simulacrum, disguise and carnival multiplicity; the fall from the Oedipus limitation throws him in the carnival. The unconscious investing of the historical social production, the Oedipus on the stage of the imperial power is a symptom of the tensions between the multiplicity of cultural codes and political-ideological centrality, signaling a crisis of management of interiority-exteriority reports, identity-otherness in the imperial world. Matricide ends the Oedipal incest initiated by Agrippina herself: "Cluvius informs us that Agrippina, from her fervent desire to keep power, came to the point that, in broad daylight, at the time Nero was heated with wine and feasting, she offered herself to her drunken son, more than once, elegantly cooked and ready for incest: since those around her noticed her lascivious kisses and her necking prior to damnation, Seneca took action against her female seductions with the help of another women, and brought her there on liberta Acte" (Tacitus XIV: 2). The fear of both maternal power and her seduction will guide in the underground his psychology to matricide: "As a result, Nero was reluctant to meet her alone, and when she went to her gardens or properties at Tusculum or Antium, he would boast her to take a longer rest. Eventually, seeing that she is overly obnoxious, wherever she was, he decided to kill her, being held back only because he had not decided yet whether to use poison, a dagger or other violent means" (Tacitus XIV: 3). Histrionics and all its turmoil will release chaotic impulses due to matricide, so that immediately after the funeral of Agrippina, Nero displays his overflowing, hardly bridled under the maternal tutelage: "Then, proud and victorious over all servility, Nero ascends the Capitol, thanks the gods, and then indulges himself to all passions that were hardly restrained, out of respect for his mother, however she might have been, he was postponing them." (Tacitus XIV: 13)

Nero-actor: from agon and luxus to the unconscious

The Suetonian narrative order (which is also an analytical subordinate of the biographical discourse) places under the sign of histrionics the whole destiny of Nero, as a disease of his identity which, as he evolves sinks him into monstrosity. The act of baptism in itself deviates into a farce as a predestination for histrionics: "An evident sign of his miserable destiny was clear in the day of purification. Caius Caesar, asked by his sister to give his child the name that he wanted, glanced to his uncle Claudius--who later adopted Nero when he became emperor--and said that he gave him his own name. But it was but a joke since Agrippina could not stand Claudius, who was at the time the derision of the imperial court" (Suetonius 1958: 236). However, the legend of the birth of the future king at sunrise and of his reaching the first rays has connotations of Nero's option for oriental solar theocracy, Antonian governance model also taken over by Caligula (the other imperial model, the Augusteic one, was a combination of monarchy, aristocracy and democracy reconciled with the old Roman republican tradition). Ominous, the solar reaching of the newborn Nero involves allusions to the solar Oriental cults which will gradually abandon the king and his mystical figuration, closer to Dionysos and his Egyptian heliocracy than Apollo: "But Apollo's Nero is quite different from that of August. He does not have his later purity, calmness, or serenity. Nero is a passionate megalomaniac, and his sun's glows and scorches. In fact, Nero is both--and he would be exalted as such--the new Dionysus" (Cizek 1986: 84). Suetonius tells this legend so that it foreshadows his histrionics and madness: "Nero was born in Antium, nine months after the death of Tiberius, eighteen days before the calends of January, in the rising sun, whose rays brightened him before touching earth. In connection with his birth, there were many and frightening predictions." (Cizek 1986: 236)

The forming of the taste for histrionism doubles the deformation of the character of young Nero, Suetonius suggesting a co-substantiality between cultivating the spectacular pleasures and the versatility pushed to monstrosity: "Quite young, before he even got out of childhood, he regularly took part as an actor, to the circus and Trojan games, winning the public's sympathy. At the age of 11 years he was adopted by Claudius and entrusted for training to Anneus Seneca, a senator back then. It is said that Seneca dreamed the night before that he was the professor of Caius Caesar. In fact, Nero shortly accomplished the dream, demonstrating through all kinds of examples the proof of his monstrous nature." (Cizek 1986: 237)

The rapidity with which it changes positions in an attempt to handle them simultaneously is a behavioral slippage and a mark of histrionic behavior into which the historian records Nero's succession to the throne after the death of Claudius, foreshadowing the variations of a stratified, disguised governance model. The mask of the Augustan model initially adopted by the newly king to induce a false continuity with his predecessor Claudius indicates a polarization of unmanageable political models (the Augustan model centered on rex, the positively valued king, and the Antonian model centered on tyrannus, the negative valued tyrant); the apparent cultivation of the Augustan model under whose mask will erupt the solar model of oriental theocracy pushed to the limit of eccentricism is indirect evidence about the effort of opposites' management: "And to further prove his character, saying that he will rule under the principle of Augustus he does not let slip any opportunity that may not show generosity, gentleness, kindness" (Cizek 1986: 238). The Neronian gesture of inclusion of extremes is also a symptom of schizoid imperial political field divided between the Augustan model (civic) or the Antonian model (anti-civic) and the impossibility of choice: the entry in this exclusive disjunction (either the Augustan model or the Antonian model) is initially problematic since declaring the option for the Antonian model would establish the new emperor's conflict with a Roman conservative tradition and with the court that delegated him imperator (Claudius as Nero's adoptive father); therefore concealing the models within each other, Nero starts in the inclusive disjunction logic (both models), dissolving contradiction into theater and circus shows. Literally dissolving the political contradiction into spectacular logic (narcotic) is implicit to the Suetonien account on the drunkenness of performances through witch Nero takes office, shows where the king ordered the melting of major social ranks in the carnival: "He gave a great number of all kinds of performances: youth games, circus games, theater and gladiatorial combat. In youth games he admitted the participation of former consuls and matrons. In circus games assigned separate places to knights and made Quadriga with camels to appear. In the games he had for the eternity of the empire and that he wanted to appoint as maximum games, the roles were executed mostly by people from both orders and both sexes. A well-known Roman knight came riding on an elephant. However he exposed and closed 40 senators and 60 Roman knights, some with a spotless situation and esteem, and others of the same social rank he forced to kill wild animals on stage and perform various services in the circus" (Cizek 1986: 239). Dismissing respectable social positions and carnivalizing hierarchies Nero dis-organized the body of the socio-ideological Roman world pulling it over a body without organs in the Deleuze-Guattarian sense.

The transgression of exclusive disjunctions by inclusive disjunctivity is the Neronian political project, the valve that exceeds the double impasse (or one political model or another) through carnivalesque inclusion. Model of an acute schizophrenic situation, the double impasse (the double bind as the simultaneous transmission of different messages) of the exclusive disjunction is flown from schizophrenia, by folding on the network of inclusive disjunctivity of the body without organs: "And if a schizophrenic becomes a product in such a case as a whole it is only as the only means to escape this double way in which normativity is not in the least more landlocked than neurosis, and the solution to nothing less blocked than the problem: and then there can only be the refolding on the body without organs" (Deleuze & Guattari 2008: 108). Nero also crosses the contradictions and the rankings of the Roman world schizophrenically or histrionically dissolving them into the carnival. The matricide belongs to the same (dis)order of things, turning the declared adoration of the dead mother, Agrippina, to extremes, which opens its mandate: "The very first day of his reign he gave the guard the password: the best mother" (Suetonius 1958: 238). Moreover, the Neronian logic of parricide (the liquidation of the whole family) is subordinated to the de-territorialized, de-Oedipial logic, that, as the carnivalization of the Roman world (agon and luxus) becomes a real political program, the reflex of the liquidation of the constraints propagate in the otherness parenting plan as limitation.

Nero's madness or histrionics self is to abandon himself to the logic of the inclusive disjunction, of its non-limitation that, in the context of anti-imperial city is a resonance of the Roman world non-limitation equivalent to oikoumene, the inhabited world: "It turns out, however, that schizophrenia offers a very special extra-Oedipian lesson, revealing the existence of an unknown force of the disjunctive synthesis, an immanent use of it which is neither exclusive nor exhaustive, but entirely affirmative non-limiting and inclusive" (Deleuze & Guattari: 103). The de-territorialized reflex of this world without borders reflects in the Nero character's mind as a de-Oedipianising reflex (this explains the violation of all parental prohibitions, starting with the alleged incest and ending with matricide).

Transgressing the boundaries of the family structure through a chain of internal executions (from half-brother, Britanicus, and ending with the assassination his own mother), Nero dynamites the Oedipal territory while as an actor, overflies in a trans-positional delirium, unnamed and faceless, all the roles, positions, identities through an act of pure nomadism. Granted to the imperial historic decadentism delusions (the accumulation of territories and borders loss), Nero slid with all the signs producing and reproducing in the hybrid formulas (it is, as in Schreber's schizophrenia, both man and woman, child and parent, slave and emperor, man and god etc.). Voyeurism, as infiltrated look on all roles, is a feature emphasized by Suetonius: "For rarely did he sit in his place of honor, but slept in the cabin looking through some the windows, and later used to look upon the open tribune the completely naked." (Suetonius 1958:240)

Not coincidentally, also in the suetonian story, the employment of the emperor position and the self-display as histrionic are simultaneous: "As soon as he became emperor, he called Terpnus, the most famous harpist of the time, whom he asked to sing and he days on end until late afternoon, would sit with him until he slowly started to study exercise without omitting some of the skills and actions artists take to preserve and even develop their" (Suetonius 1958: 244). So begins the series of Neronian performances, one more extravagant than the other, exploded into a real histrionic frenzy: Suetonius reports that during his first performances in Naples, although there was an earthquake during his performance he did not stop singing until he finished area; also in Naples he retained all the Alexandrian merchants who had come there to transport wheat, instructed them in the art of acclaim and paid him to perform; in Rome entered on the scene along with other actors, sang for hours continuously without giving viewers the opportunity to withdraw (it is said that some women gave birth even during performances); participated in the circus games, in spite of all prohibitions, driving a cart himself in Circus Maximus. Insatiable his desire of stage success, Nero continues his performances in Achaia: "Dissatisfied with the samples of his art in Rome, he went to Achaia" (Suetonius 1958: 246), convinced that only the Greeks knew to listen to the music and are worthy of his talent. Back to Rome from the Greek tour, on the triumph cart of Augustus, Nero displays histrionics at supreme rank and certifying the carnivalization of the Roman world: "But in Rome he was in the cart that once entered in triumph Augustus. Dressed in purple and with a mantle with gold stars, wore on the head the Olympic crown, in his right hand the Phytase one and the other crowns were taken before him pompously, with inscriptions showing the place of victory and the defeated opponents, the subject of songs and pieces of who won." (Suetonius 1958: 248)

The histrionic triumphs are followed, by the polymorphous sexuality, degenerate in sadomasochistic rituals relevant for erasing the internal sexual difference and the chaotic proliferation of sex: "So much he whored his shame that no part of his body remained clean. Invented as a sort of game, to cover the skin of a beast and stay in a hiding place, and from there to rush the bodies of women and men, tied to a pole. Once he satisfied the bestial lust, he went to Doryphorus that even married, after she had married Sporus" (Suetonius 1958: 250). The waste of money through extravagant donations and uncounted spending is another part of his Nero's personality, mentioned by Suetonius, which added to the hallucinating sexuality, proving the dissolution of all codes (the liquefaction mirage), recording the emperor-actor's delirium on the surface of the decadentist body without organs and transforming it into a value circuit, for the capital as the registration of the whole production process is the true body full of the social, the socius. Recording the delirious flow of desire and the entire production of masks, disguises, situations and roles, these exorbitant costs aureole the Neronian psychodrama as a fetish: "He did not wear a coat twice. He played dice with four hundred thousand sesterces the point. He fished with a gold mesh, woven with purple and scarlet yarn" (Suetonius 1958: 251). The parricides and crimes are the last sequence of the Suetonian story as the culmination of all the excesses of Nero, as the last link in the chain of the removal of barriers and specific limitations and slip in undifferentiated of total permissiveness: "Since then, he kills without choice or action whomever he wants and under any pretext. [...] Cocky and proud of such facts, as of some successes, he said that no emperor until he knew all that was allowed." (Suetonius 1958: 258)

The absolutization of histrionics and the proclamation of the universality of art, as the suppression of otherness competing inside the power represented by the imperial palace, is the final gesture, not just that of a personal destiny, but that of a collective destiny, is the symptom of the alterity invasion of exotic otherness of the cultures centralized in the possibly enclosed space of the Roman city. The obsessive repetition of the words "All land cultivates art" in response to the predictions of the astrologists on its imminent overthrow confirms this carnivalesque hallucination, the disguise of the power code in aesthetic code. Also, the final line, before the suicide, "What a great artist dies" completes the role transfer (from emperor to artist), resolving the double impasse (emperor or actor) by transgression in sham and mask (the entire sequence of his stumbled suicide, helped by a slave is a scene where, terrified and helpless the actor-emperor Nero recites verses from the Iliad). De-territorialization of power (converting his despotic signifier into second degree aesthetic signifiers, simulated) and the de-territorialization of the unconscious of the limiting Oedipal fantasies are sequences closely related and almost prophetic the last Neronian performance was Oedipus Exiled, ending with the line: Wife, mother, father all are forcing me to die. Oedipus' exile evokes at the same time the exile of the unique code at the periphery of the exotic alterity, in the carnival.

Ilona Manuela Duta

University of Craiova

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to ilonaduta@?


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Title Annotation:Carpe nocem
Author:Duta, Ilona Manuela
Publication:Romanian Journal of Artistic Creativity
Date:Jun 22, 2015
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