Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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The Balinese dance legong is compared with two European plays, Jean Genet's The Maids and Tom Stoppard's Resencrantz and Guildernstern Are Dead in order to examine different approaches to the function and characterization of the Double. All three contain ritual performance in which the pairs exchange their roles, but for different purposes and with different level of fluidity. All three play with alternating in presentation between exact mirror images and distinguishable individual characteristics. In the two European examples, the Doubles are socially marginalized characters - servants whose double identity hardly equals a full single identity as even together they cannot combat the power of the Master or Mistress. In the legong, however, the servant is a single character and it is the mistress who is played in double. The splitting of an identity that externally communes with itself is one source of alienation, but in the legong, the performance also alienates the story of rape and revenge by being enacted by pre-adolescent girls; Genet's maids achieves a similar alienation by being played by young men, and Stoppard's courtiers step in and out of the well-known text, Hamlet. Within the contexts of ritual and game-playing, the three sets of Double perhaps demonstrate different cultural notions of identity vis-à-vis the concepts individuality and one's role within a social structure.

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