Term of Award

Spring 2014

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (M.A.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)


Department of Literature and Philosophy

Committee Chair

Dustin Anderson

Committee Member 1

Howard Keeley

Committee Member 2

Joe Pellegrino


This study situates The Weir and Shining City by Conor McPherson as embodying elements of Dionysian aesthetics as elucidated by Friedrich Nietzsche. Working through the lenses of Samuel Beckett’s linguistic philosophy and the premium of theater as established by Nietzsche, Artaud, and Brecht, the aim of this paper is to demonstrate how McPherson pierces the boundaries of language in drama by establishing his audience as chorus. Background information on Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy and McPherson’s own comments on the plays are included with the research on the plays themselves. This work articulates the chorus itself but also the choral, musical quality of McPherson’s work and its resulting empowerment for the spectator.