Authors Name: 
Caitriona Whelan
University: 
Maynooth University
Category: 
Literature
Highly commended

In what ways have the film adaptations of Beckett's Not I altered gender and the gaze within the play?

This essay sought to investigate the changes made to gender and the gaze in the film adaptations of Samuel Beckett's play Not I, and whether film as a medium possesses unique tools for implicating gender oppression. The subject of gender in both the original play and the film adaptations was explored through close examination of both the original text as well the two film adaptations. Alongside this, both critical reviews and feminist theory, including Judith Butler and Laura Mulvey, were utilized to explore the question. By examining the differences between the original text and film adaptations, it was found that the utilization of the camera's gaze, the affirmation of a gender binary and the unique "repetitive" abilities of film all served to create a different experience of gender to that contained within the original play. The camera, in particular, was found to possess a uniquely oppressive role unavailable in other mediums. As such, while objectification and oppression exists both on film and in the original play, it becomes clear that film has the ability to exacerbate the gender roles and oppression implicated on the dramatic stage. Moreover, it is the camera which is at the center of this change in power dynamics, and therefore the key element at play.