Blind geweld? | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online
Volume 135, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0040-7550
  • E-ISSN: 2212-0521



This article investigates the ‘horror of vision’ in regard to staged violence in Dutch theatre plays between c. 1635 and 1665. Three plays in particular are analysed in which the violent act of blinding plays an important role. The theatre serves as a mirror for the onlookers who, through looking at characters that look at violence, learn to critically reflect on how they view theatrical violence themselves. The gaze that is performed on stage could be violent itself, but the horror of looking can also be related to the sensory and mental violence that the representation of extreme violence exerts on the onlooker. The discussed plays often refer to the pain of looking at the pain of others, whereas the viewing pleasure of audiences that would long for horror, is condemned, in contrast to blindness as the true way of (inward) vision.


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