AWEJ for Translation & Literary Studies, Volume 6, Number1.  February 2022                              Pp.20 -29

The Hierarchy of Oppression, from Authoritarianism to Misogyny: A Study in the Monodrama of Mamdouh ʿUdwan

Samar Zahrawi

Department of World Languages and Cultures
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Sam Houston State University
Huntsville, TX, USA.


This paper will focus on the drama of the Syrian dramatist and poet Mamdouh ʿUdwan (1941-2004), who has not yet received due critical attention. During his twenty years writing for the stage, ʿUdwan resisted oppressive political regimes and was consequently marginalized and impoverished. Due to censorship, his drama does not delineate the free society that he dreams of, nor does it openly censure the sources of corruption. On the contrary, he creates ambiguous male characters who enjoy a measure of dignity and social decorum but simultaneously unravel their toxic masculinity and oppressive nature. On the other hand, women are kept offstage and are victims of either male chauvinism or social hypocrisy. This study will follow the unmasking of male authority and its parallel to political and economic hegemony. The purpose is to critique the values of Arab culture, which customarily cements male privilege. An analytical study of the form and content of ʿUdwan’s monodramas That’s Life (1987), The Garbage Collector (1987), and The Cannibals (1984) will link oppressive social behavior to political autocracy. It suggests that misogyny and oppression of women are consequences of men feeling crushed by dictatorship and corruption.

Cite as:

Zahrawi, S. (2022) The Hierarchy of Oppression, from Authoritarianism to Misogyny: A Study in the Monodrama of Mamdouh ʿUdwan. Arab World English Journal for Translation & Literary Studies 6(1) 20 -29.
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.24093/awejtls/vol6no1.2


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Samar Zahrawi received her Ph.D. from the University of Leeds, the U.K. in Modern Drama in 1992. She taught modern drama at Al-Baath University, Syria, and King Saud University, KSA. Currently, she is an Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies at Sam Houston State University, Texas, USA. Having a background in English and comparative drama, her current research interest is Arabic drama, Arabic culture, and translation studies.  ORCid https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6897-523X