Blood by Suzan-Lori Sparks expands on the main theme of society’s unfair disregard for its people of low condition in general, for women, and for adulterers. Hester La Negrita, the protagonist, is an African-American woman who struggles to survive in poverty along with her five base-born children. The family’s outcast status is portrayed as a direct inducer and accelerator of emotional suffering, poverty, lack of education, and sexual exploitation.
(A) From a structural perspective, In the Blood is constructed in two acts and nine scenes, employing a linear plotline (Rush, 2005). In this sense, the play debuts with the equilibrium of Hester striving to provide for her children in meager conditions, the inciting incident represented by the suggestion to seek help from the available former lovers and fathers of her children, the major dramatic question of whether or not she will attain it, the developing action as Hester approaches Reverend D. And Chilli with this intention and is openly rejected by both, the climax when she violently murders her oldest son, and finally the resolution and renewed state of equilibrium as the tragic hero is imprisoned and can no longer provide for her children.
(A) The literary connection to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter is traced through the main characters’ identical first name, a recurrent surfacing of the letter A, and also in a clearly visible emphasis on woman’s reputation and how mothering bastard children negatively impacts it. It is unspeakably moving, even shocking, to witness the tragedy of a single mother who only wants to care for her children, and is met with cruel shunning or sexual labeling by the other characters.
(B) Histrionics are employed in the silent interactions which occur repeatedly between Hester and the others, and also in the five monologues. Whereas the former serves to accentuate turns in conversation or imply certain meanings, the dramatic confessions are poetically revelatory as they provide crucial insight into the hero’s past and connection with the other characters. In addition, the elaborate confessions convey the characters’ culpability (B) as faulty agents of a ruthless society, which sends a stinging message to the audience: that humanity is directly responsible for the unimaginable misery that apathy and prejudice cause at a personal level.
(B) A current politically debated issue that could be linked to Hester La Negrita’s predicaments as correlated with sexual objectification is the matter of widely acknowledged same-sex marriage. Proponents of this measure argue that all citizens ought to have the same legal right to try to be happy by marrying whom they want. On the other hand, opponents advocate that a healthy society cannot include homosexual partnerships and therefore should not tolerate this equality. This present issue is illustrative of the way that sex holds a major leverage in society at all levels and influences most decisions.
The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, by Edward Albee, could be perceived as an essentially anti-realist play that suggests contemporary society’s predetermined conceptions about love as a constantly morphing experience, dealing with the specific issue of whether love has imposed boundaries, why, and who would actually be setting them (A). The title alludes to William Shakespeare’s Who is Sylvia poem from the play The Two Gentlemen of Verona, which is a love song, and suggests the transcendental nature of the main character’s affections, settled in strong feelings for a member of another species (A).
(B) Pantheism, or the belief that God resides in all living organisms, can be correlated with Martin’s compelling liaison with Sylvia, whom he perceives as endowed with a soul. In dealing with the question of human-animal boundaries, Albee brings the problem of love’s unpredictable character uncomfortably close to the surface in this play, “destabilizing the very language commonly used to justify, explain, and exploit difference” (Bailin, 2006).
(C) The tragic hero’s love affair causes him to learn new, untranslatable things about his own nature, and may be suggestive of contemporary man’s growing disconnection from his peers as indicated by Robert Putnam (2000). Moreover, by depicting Martin’s family in a crisis ensued from his shocking disclosure, Albee cretes a utilitarian onset by challenging audience members to question their own prepossessions in the face of homosexuality and other more socially decried subjects, such as infidelity, pedophilia, incest, and bestiality. Hence, the play conveys a progressive, evolutionist approach to which types of love human beings profess to deem acceptable, and civilization is seen as an obstacle in the quest of further discovering what being human truly means.
John Patrick Shanley’s Doubt, a Parable is (A) structured in a single act, compactly constructed as a streamlined narrative, and expands on the central theme of rejection of absolutes in the matter of skepticism vs. faith, by exposing the consolations of certainty and the unsettling nature of doubt in deliberate ambiguity. (A) To some extent, moral certainty is linked with ignorance, whereas doubt is associated with wisdom. Yet Sister Aloysius, who at first appears to be grounded in certainties, is overcome with doubt and morally shaken by the end of the play, which does not indicate new wisdom, and may suggest culpability or confusion. Testimonial to Doubt’s ingenious construction and remarkable insight is the play’s most captivating ending, which reveals an openly admitted succumbing to doubt of a character that was defined by religious rigidity throughout the play.
The play unfolds a story centered on the feeling of doubt itself (B), and relates to the failure of dogmatism in modern society at large, as the falsely comforting mask of dogma-induced certainty is removed to make way for the underlying uneasiness to unfold. In this sense, Doubt does not provide the audience with answers, but leaves them with many questions. (B) The author accurately points out that modern humanity has been anxiously hiding behind pre-established religious dogmas instead of bravely facing the uncertainty of whatever their own reasoning may reveal, therefore doubt is introduced here as the constructive solution to a life numbed with faith and has the potential to set in motion the useful wheels of critical thinking.
The focus of W;t by Margaret Edson (A) falls entirely on its protagonist, Vivian Bearing, English Literature Professor, with a special expertise in the Holy Sonnets of John Donne, and her coming to terms with her belatedly diagnosed stage four ovarian cancer, as she recalls her life, and meditates on her impending death. The motives of forgiveness, relationship, and dignity, are central in developing the theme of kindness and its prevalence over intellect in the face of death. The major themes of life and death are perceived through the filter of John Donne’s metaphysical poetry, being translated in Vivian’s perspective into manifestations of witty conceit. As the plot unfolds, the audience bear witness to Vivian’s progress from diagnosis, treatment, aplasia, and sepsis, to her death in the middle of an aborted attempt at cardiopulmonary resuscitation effected despite her previous signing of a DNR (do not resuscitate) agreement.
The play script abounds in flashbacks (A) to the protagonist’s childhood and career in the scholarly environment, and most of the dialogue is built between her and several health care professionals — as opposed to the film who depicts numerous monologues as actor Emma Thompson looks directly at the camera to offer her personal insight for additional theatrical effect. In fact, should the flashbacks from the movie – which employ a younger actor to impersonate the early life of Vivian Bearing, be adapted on stage, it might produce an enhanced dramatic effect.
The title of Margaret Edson’s play (B) portrays an erudite protagonist’s symbolic attempt at proclaiming the supremacy of the comma as a non-disruptive element, used here to replace the letter I with a semicolon: W;t. Though she had spent her entire career analyzing potential interpretations of death in Donne’s poetry, Vivian Bearing feels utterly…