Viewing the Play 'The Roaring Girl' through Michel De Certeau's 'Walking in the City'
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Paths and Rules
Michel de Certeau's "Walking in the City" provides a clear and appropriate lens with which to view and re-view the 17th century play, "The Roaring Girl." Thesis: Certeau's notion of subversive navigation within cities illuminates a heretofore unexamined dimension of "The Roaring Girl," the protagonists' appropriation of major London landmarks for uses completely unintended by the city's planners. The protagonists in "The Roaring Girl" were able to overturn key social conventions by first overturning the institutional control of space within the city.
In his essay "Walking in the City," Michel de Certeau's paints a unique portrait of a city life that can be applied to personal social interactions. One of Certeau's arguments is that leaders and influential people draft rules regulating social interactions and social norms. The hierarchically generated rules serve to maintain an established social order and structure; and these rules perpetuate the ideals and values of the elite and dominant culture. (94-95). To support his claims, Michel de Certeau observes New York City from the height of the Twin Towers. Certeau notes that the city had been planned well, laid out in carefully constructed zones according to a detailed and highly thought out architectural plan. He observes city below him in both topical and geographical structure with attendant features, "...the urban island"¦lifts up the skyscrapers over Wall Street, sinks down at Greenwich, then rises