The "Business" of Violence in Yasmina Rezas's God of Carnage

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Yasmina Reza’s play God of Carnage, is set in a bourgeois living room, and focuses on two couples bravely soldiering on to find an agreement regarding a fight between their sons. This paper-thin plot is the pretext however for a tragi-comic exploration of manifold forms of violence, from minor to major, that affect our world. This article explores how this 90-minute comedy handles the ‘business’ of violence: can guilt for committing acts of violence be mitigated; is violence never justified; is it legitimate to respond to violence with violence, be it physical violence or symbolic violence; and lastly, if legitimate, what is the appropriate amount of violence when reacting to violence? These issues are the staple plots of most tragedies, but rarely do comedies tackle such forbidding material.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)241-255
Number of pages15
JournalFrench Forum
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016


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