Research Article

DOI :10.26650/CONS2022-1087161   IUP :10.26650/CONS2022-1087161    Full Text (PDF)

Evaluation of ‘Hedwig’ in Hedwig and the Angry Inch as the Jester

Orkun ÖngenTarık Dalkılıç

This study examines the character of ‘Hedwig’ in the musical play Hedwig and the Angry Inch, written by John Cameron Mitchell, using the historical concept and typology of the jester, with a special focus on performers’ perspectives. First, the study focuses on the historical origin of the concept of jester and its development over various historical periods. Afterward, the character of Hedwig is analysed from a historical perspective to determine which kinds of jester concept Hedwig might correspond to today. Evaluating the position of the character and her lines in the play was significant in this determination. The study concludes with an assessment of the qualitative evaluation method. The findings of this examination will present a new perspective to researchers and actors to evaluate the character of Hedwig through the concept and typology of the jester.

DOI :10.26650/CONS2022-1087161   IUP :10.26650/CONS2022-1087161    Full Text (PDF)

Hedwig ve Angry Inch Oyunundaki ‘Hedwig’ Karakterinin Soytarı Kavramı Açısından İncelenmesi

Orkun ÖngenTarık Dalkılıç

Bu çalışmanın amacı, John Cameron Mitchell’in yazdığı Hedwig ve Angry Inch oyunundaki ‘Hedwig’ karakterini soytarı kavramı ve tipolojisi üzerinden tarihsel bir perspektif kapsamında incelemektir. Soytarılık kavramı ile bu kavramın tarihteki yeri üzerinden yapılan araştırmalar oyundaki Hedwig karakterini kavramaya dair -özellikle oyuncu açısından- bir bakış açısı oluşturacaktır. Soytarılığın tarihsel art alanı ile günümüzdeki yansımalarının ne olduğu, bunların modern bir müzikal tiyatro oyunu olan Hedwig ve Angry Inch müzikali içerisindeki karşılığı irdelenecektir. Çalışmaya soytarılık kavramının tarihsel kökeniyle tarihsel dönemler içerisindeki gelişimi ele alınarak başlanacaktır. Sonrasında Hedwig karakteri bu tarihsel art alan ekseninde çözümlenerek günümüzde ne türde bir soytarı kavramına karşılık geldiği, karakterin oyun içerisindeki konumu ile replikleri üzerinden yapılan tespitler bağlamında değerlendirilecektir. Hedwig karakterine dair bu çalışmada yapılan değerlendirme ve tespitler, ilgili alt başlıklar altında analiz edilerek sonuç ve değerlendirme bölümünde kalitatif bir değerlendirme yöntemi doğrultusunda incelenerek bir değerlendirme niteliğinde sonuçlandırılacaktır. İnceleme sonucunda ulaşılan tespitler, oyun karakterinin soytarılık kavramı ve tipolojisi üzerinden değerlendirilmesi yönünde araştırmacılara ve oyunculara bir bakış açısı sağlayarak Hedwig karakterinin bu minvalde ele alınmasına imkân sağlayacaktır.


Jesters are a phenomenon encountered across social classes under various names both in theatre and society throughout history. Jesters have survived far beyond the periods in which they emerged within the cultural codes of society. The basic qualities jesters exhibit do not change even as historical periods change. The attitudes and behaviours of the jester are built on the existing features of humanity rather than the characteristics of culture. These basic features relate to the need to reveal and make tangible the naked truth existing in the material world. While revealing this truth, the jester demonstrates some character traits that release the jester from the responsibility of telling the naked truth. The half-wit, half-stupid, half-mad attitude of jesters allows them to express the truth through their sharp-tongued humour – a humour that in fact helps to create their social status and allows them to avoid the consequences of telling the truth. Naturally, even if these ordinary people, deemed mad and half-witted in their society, are not taken seriously, they are free to rise to the position of an intermediary of the naked truth to everybody.

Hedwig’s character in the musical play Hedwig and the Angry Inch, written by John Cameron Mitchell, exhibits a tense relationship with her sexual identity. The choices Hedwig has made in life have pushed her to the margins of the society she occupies, just like jesters. This ambiguous position of Hedwig leads her to evaluate the realities she faces from a simple point of view. While doing so, she adopts a half-mad, half-witted, sometimes sarcastic and melancholic attitude typical of jesters. Hedwig adopts these attitudes and behaviours to gain the immunity of the jester in society. She reflects these same features to the audience throughout the play.

This study intends to show the hidden relationship between the character of Hedwig and the historical concept of the jester by citing specific similarities. This study will consider the concept of jester in Greek, Roman, Medieval, Renaissance and Modern theatre and in other art forms. The scope of this study is limited to the related titles historical evaluations mentioned and to the play Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Apart from these limitations, some off-topic limited discussion about the concept of jester are introduced to guide other researchers who might want to deal with the issue from a different perspective. The author briefly explains the concept of Hedwig as a jester in a way that does not disturb the integrity of the character. While evaluating the character of Hedwig, it is not sufficient just to associate her with the concept of jester. It is important to think deeply about the similarities between this character and the concept of jester. To date, there is no academic evaluation or study related to this play from this viewpoint. The determination and historical evaluations made in this study on the concept of the jester shows that other similar plays can be evaluated within this same textual context.

The study comprises four parts. In the introduction, the author reviews the purpose, method, scope and limitations of the study. Further, the author emphasises the importance of the study and explains the evaluation method used. In the next part, the author examines the historical background and origins of jesters and their position in various historical periods. In the second part, the author analyses the character of Hedwig within the typology of the jester, in line with historical determinations. The third chapter presents this qualitative study’s conclusions. 

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Öngen, O., & Dalkılıç, T. (2022). Evaluation of ‘Hedwig’ in Hedwig and the Angry Inch as the Jester. Conservatorium, 9(1), 25-44.


Öngen O, Dalkılıç T. Evaluation of ‘Hedwig’ in Hedwig and the Angry Inch as the Jester. Conservatorium. 2022;9(1):25-44.


Öngen, O.; Dalkılıç, T. Evaluation of ‘Hedwig’ in Hedwig and the Angry Inch as the Jester. Conservatorium, [Publisher Location], v. 9, n. 1, p. 25-44, 2022.

Chicago: Author-Date Style

Öngen, Orkun, and Tarık Dalkılıç. 2022. “Evaluation of ‘Hedwig’ in Hedwig and the Angry Inch as the Jester.” Conservatorium 9, no. 1: 25-44.

Chicago: Humanities Style

Öngen, Orkun, and Tarık Dalkılıç. Evaluation of ‘Hedwig’ in Hedwig and the Angry Inch as the Jester.” Conservatorium 9, no. 1 (Sep. 2023): 25-44.

Harvard: Australian Style

Öngen, O & Dalkılıç, T 2022, 'Evaluation of ‘Hedwig’ in Hedwig and the Angry Inch as the Jester', Conservatorium, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 25-44, viewed 26 Sep. 2023,

Harvard: Author-Date Style

Öngen, O. and Dalkılıç, T. (2022) ‘Evaluation of ‘Hedwig’ in Hedwig and the Angry Inch as the Jester’, Conservatorium, 9(1), pp. 25-44. (26 Sep. 2023).


Öngen, Orkun, and Tarık Dalkılıç. Evaluation of ‘Hedwig’ in Hedwig and the Angry Inch as the Jester.” Conservatorium, vol. 9, no. 1, 2022, pp. 25-44. [Database Container],


Öngen O, Dalkılıç T. Evaluation of ‘Hedwig’ in Hedwig and the Angry Inch as the Jester. Conservatorium [Internet]. 26 Sep. 2023 [cited 26 Sep. 2023];9(1):25-44. Available from: doi: 10.26650/CONS2022-1087161


Öngen, Orkun - Dalkılıç, Tarık. Evaluation of ‘Hedwig’ in Hedwig and the Angry Inch as the Jester”. Conservatorium 9/1 (Sep. 2023): 25-44.


Published Online13.06.2022


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