Category Archives: drama



Chapters 42 and 43 of the Kennedy and Gioia textbook (Chapters 44 and 45 in the eText) provide helpful pointers for writing about plays and for developing research papers. Be sure to review both chapters thoroughly before you begin doing any further work for this assignment.

Choose 1 of the prompts below to address in your paper:

  1. Write an essay explaining how Sophocles’ Oedipus exemplifies or refutes Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero. Review Chapter 34 in your textbook (Chapter 36 in the eText) for the background and overview of Aristotle’s concept of tragedy/the tragic hero and drama. This chapter also contains critical information on Sophocles and the play Oedipus. You may use any of the critical material as a secondary source, but remember to cite it correctly. A video performance and an animated lesson on the play Oedipus are available in MyLiteratureLab Multimedia for you to watch.
  2. Discuss William Shakespeare’s Othello, the Moor of Venice as a tragedy. As defined by Aristotle, is it correct to label Othello a “tragic hero” and to classify the play as an Aristotelian tragedy? Review Chapter 35 of your textbook (Chapter 37 in the eText) for the background and overview of Shakespeare’s Othello, the Moor of Venice, and drama. This chapter also contains critical information on Shakespeare and the play Othello, the Moor of Venice. You may use any of these critical materials as a secondary source, but remember to cite it correctly. Also, read the overview of Aristotle’s concept of tragedy/the tragic hero on pages 904–907 (pages 857–859 in the eText) as well as the sample Student Essay on Othello (pages 1112–1115 of the eText and page 1024 to view the Student Essay). A video performance and an animated lesson on the play are also available in MyLiteratureLab Multimedia for you to watch.
  3. Use evidence from Sophocles’ Oedipus, from Shakespeare’s Othello, Moor of Venice, and from secondary sources to explain why you agree or disagree with this statement: “The downfall of Oedipus is the work of the gods; the downfall of Othello is self-inflicted” (Should you choose this option, you need to read both Oedipus and Othello in full).
  4. Discuss the author’s perception of death and the treatment of death in Everyman.

Sample paper


The assignment, thesis statement: Oedipus is the embodiment of Aristotle’s characterization of a tragic hero through his ability and power to preserve his virtue, knowledge, and knowledge irrespective of his flaws and predicament.

Assignment outline

  1. Sophocles’ Oedipus: The tragic hero of the story
    1. Definition of a tragic hero
    2. True picture of Oedipus character as it relates to the story
  2. Tragedy
    1. The use of tragedy language in the story
    2. The effect of tragedy on the audience and all readers
  • Plot
    1. Aristotle’s concept of a tragic story
    2. The importance of the tragic plot to the story
  1. Virtue and morality
    1. Identification of Oedipus’ character
    2. Oedipus obtains virtue, wisdom, and knowledge by judging poorly and making wrong decisions.
  2. Conclusion

Oedipus as the Ideal Tragic Hero

Oedipus, the primary and the key character of the drama, is a great and famous king with ideal traits and character in his individual personality. However, he is tragic due to a tragic flaw regarding his moral disposition. This mixture makes the readers and audience have the tragic experience of catharsis at the end of the drama when all the good of Oedipus is wasted in his struggle against the evil. Being one of the most well-known tragic heroes in the historical drama, he wasted most of his precious time fighting his inner evil and demons despite being a great king. His strange and peculiar fate leads him to the tragic downfall that leaves the readers and audiences feeling emotionally affected considering that he had shown great potential and personality at the start of the drama. Oedipus is that ill-fated tragic character that perfectly fits Aristotle’s characterization of a tragic hero through his ability to preserve his virtue and wisdom irrespective of his flaws and predicaments. Notably, Oedipus parents had to throw him away on the third of his birth basically because it was told that he would kill his father and marry his mother one time at the moment (Adade-Yeboah). He is the tragic man who was unfortunately pitied by the sphere which was supposed to throw him in the mountains of Kithairon. Additionally, the Aristotelian concept and view of a tragic hero do not expose and show the signs of lack of morality or even the wickedness of the protagonist based on an error of judgment. The tragedy and drama so perfectly fit with the Aristotelian characteristics of Oedipus.

Related: Television Shows Review Black-ish

Based on Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero, it is easy to tell that Oedipus perfectly fits the character description through various traits and characteristics that he displays and the origin of his tragic fall. An example of some of the traits in the drama that displays his character includes;

“There remains then the man who occupies the mean between saintliness and depravity. He is not extraordinary in virtue and righteousness and yet does not fall into bad fortune because of the evil and wickedness, but because of some hamartia of a kind found in men of high reputation and good fortunes such as Oedipus and Thyestes and famous men of similar families.”

In addition, the origin of Oedipus fall perfectly fits Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero.  From the story, it is to pinpoint that Oedipus is not a saint and his extraordinary ability to outshine the Sphinx and solve the riddle which gives him much needed reverence. Oedipus goes on to become a king a reward that he receives after saving the people of Thebes, which eventually makes his popular among the people as well as earns him the power to become a leader in the city (Goldhill, 2015). As evident in the drama, Oedipus becomes so powerful and popular in the city to the extent that the priest addresses Oedipus as “great Oedipus, the powerful king of Thebes.” It is worth noting that Aristotle’s concept, Oedipus’s downfall does not necessarily come from his wickedness, but rather it is as a result of a combination of factors that determines his fate.

King Oedipus can be taken as a typical hero of classical tragedies. Aristotle, the first philosopher to theorize the art of drama, obviously studied Oedipus and based his observations on the qualities of a tragic hero upon the example of Oedipus. One of the factors that significantly contributed to the fall of the great King Oedipus is his anger towards Tiresias, which greatly reflects his own weaknesses which would eventually lead to his doom. As the drama starts, Oedipus was quick to anger, and he is unable to contain his own anger when blind tries to warn him, but instead of listening to the wise words of the prophet, he sends him away, and this clearly demonstrates the error of judgment which Aristotle refers to his definition.  Oedipus is a great king as the opening scene showed him in his magnificence and concerned about the welfare of his people. However, the responsibility of tragedy is placed on his weaknesses such as anger and temper, although Aristotle refuses to blame him, considering that he still maintained his goodness and virtue which were true. Moreover, Aristotle blames human error as opposed to lack of morality as the primary cause of the tragedy that befalls the great king. Despite the fact that Oedipus audiences and readers can question morality based on guilty of incest and character flaws, his virtue is unquestionable, and at the end of the drama, his anger is redeemed to make him even better person and leader than his old self.  Besides, he still holds on his knowledge and wisdom, even at old age and when he became blind  and doomed to exile, which is clearly displayed by the words “ or kill me, hurl me into the sea, away from men’s eyes forever, of all men, I alone can bear this guilt.”

Related: Jacques LeCoq

It seems like Oedipus could have avoided his ill-destine if he could have taken certain measures and precautions in his life. If he could have promised never to kill a man or marry an aged woman, he would have done better both as a king and as a person. On the other hand, Aristotle feels that language diversity in the drama has significantly enhanced the play as well as enabling more and more individuals from different parts of the globe to appreciate the work.  Aristotle also believes that the language must be sweet in tragedy and the language used by different characters should be in a position to depict the social stands of the character’s which help in creating vivid images in the minds of both the readers and the audiences (Rahman, 2015). Besides, he feels that there is the need to use meaningful language to reflect the entire play in a real life concept as well as stressing the seriousness of the tragedy in the play.

Basing our argument on Aristotle’s idea and the concept of a plot, it is correct to say that King Oedipus has very interesting and distinguishing plot that helps to create suspense among the readers and audiences making them want to see more or read more.  In addition, throughout the play, genuine emotions are created especially where real life experiences are concerned by those who can identify with the experiences and find a strong correlation between fictitious characters and their own lives. This a clear indication that the play presents a complex relationship between tragedy and emotions and the audiences are free to react to the sequence of events in the play feeling pity for Oedipus about his fate and predicament. Aristotle calls for the creation of a full-scale illusion of a real-life experience and as a result, for the audiences’ emotional identification with characters and all the events they have to go through on the play. Only such emotional identification and connection can lead to the proper tragic pleasure that Aristotle is over. The sequences of events and circumstances do not actually follow a chronological order which helps to enhance suspense of the plot as well as capturing the attention of all readers and audiences. This is clear in the play, especially at the beginning of the play where Oedipus is already the great and famous king of Thebes, yet the audiences and readers come to learn about his childhood and his biological parents far much later in the play.

Notably, Aristotle helps in the promotion of a plot that balances important aspects of the play such as wholeness, magnitude, and complicity. The length and complexity of the play indicate the seriousness, significance and the importance of the plot both to the readers and audiences. Moreover, there is a strong connection between the action and the plot of the play considering that they are interdependent and fundamental to the play. The action of the play is linked up with the plot because the plot is the synthesis of the individual acts. On the same note, Aristotle perfectly employs virtue and morality as the two primary concepts and ideas relating to the tragic hero and his fate and predicament (Liang, 2015). As a result, the audience and the readers have an opportunity to identify themselves with the characters of these paramount concepts in addition to the characters actions and how they can be related to the audiences.

Aristotle’s concepts and ideas of a tragic hero, tragedy, and drama are important to the relevance and enjoyment of the play.  The Aristotelian tragic hero is endowed with powerful characters such as virtue and error but finally, falls as a result of an error in judgment and not from his wickedness. Moreover, the great king Oedipus would have had a better and happier ending had he controlled his anger, listened to the blind prophet and rectify some of the small mistakes that led to his predicament. Moreover, Aristotelian tragedy imitates real life experiences and at the same time exposes the necessary fundamentals and basics of drama and play. Despite having a tragic end, King Oedipus manages to keep his virtue and wisdom even though his tempers and anger led to his downfall.


Adade-Yeboah, A. &. (n.d.). The tragic hero of the neo-classical revival. 2016 .

Goldhill, S. D. (2015). The Ends of Tragedy: Schelling, Hegel, and Oedipus. . Tragedy and the                Idea of Modernity, 129, , 231.

Liang, J. (2015). On tragic heroes: a comparative study of Hamlet and the Orphan of Chao. .                    Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 5(10), , 2076.

Rahman, M. (2015). Evolution of the Tragic Hero: A Shift from God to Man                     (Doctoral dissertation, BRAC University).

Whitman, Dickinson, Longfellow and the Early Writers

Television Shows Review-Black-ish,The Haves And The Have Nots,Sex And The City


Content Analysis Guidelines

Select three television shows or two movies depicting gender, race and class. Write a study on the media’s impact of how race, class and gender are viewed in American society.

Analyze the tv shows/movies based on gender, race and class. What family dynamic exists? How do the tv shows influence women? (self esteem, self image)

Take notes while you are watching television shows and note your observations.

How might these tv shows/movies impact the viewers/audience? How do these tv shows/films impact you as an individual?  How do these tv shows/movies influence society?

Sample paper

Television Shows Review


Blacki-ish, an American comedy-drama, has addressed the issue of race in bold ways. A number of episodes address race and the issue of minority groups (especially African Americans) in fundamental ways. In Season 2, Episode 16 (titled “Hope”), the issue of race takes center stage. The episode features the Johnson family gathered in the living room and watching the television amidst some chitchat. The family is watching a fictitious news item but which is all too familiar with the harsh realities of the world the children are living in. The news item is about race and police brutality, a contentious topic in the contemporary America. In the news item, the discussion is about a white police officer facing trial over the alleged murder of an African-American teenager. Dre (the kids’ father), along with Ruby and Pops hold the notion that the kids should know the harsh realities of the world, while Bow (the kids’ mother) opts for a nuanced approach.

The setting of the episode is in an affluent suburb and reflects the events in the current decade. The episode exemplifies the challenges that black families go through in the recent times. Although the news item is probably fictitious, it mirrors the current happenings in the American society where blacks have experienced firsthand police brutality. Dre, their father, insists on letting the kids know about racism and police brutality. His wife, Bow, is apprehensive of this and tries to hide the reality from the kids. In his opening remarks, Dre notes that in the early period (1980s), it was quite easy to hide the cruelties from children. His father, Pops, would simply shout, “Turn the damn TV off, boy.” Due to the internet and increased news coverage, Dre asserts that it is virtually impossible to keep children from all the negatives in the world.

The episode revolves around the extended Dre’s family. Dre is happily married to Bow, who is also from a similar racial background. The kids’ grandparents, Pops and Ruby, are present in the living room. Apart from the prosecuting attorney on the TV, all the other cast members are black. The entire show predominantly revolves around their conversation in the living room. The use of black cast helps in delivering the message to the audience on how black families experience racism. In using a black cast, it is possible to show how they feel about racism and how it affects them. Bow sends the children to the kitchen in an effort to prevent them from hearing the conversation. However, the children can hear everything they are discussing. The reality is that no matter the efforts to protect their innocence, they will one day come face-to-face with racism and police brutality.

Related: The Threepenny Opera and Rent Plays

The Haves And The Have Nots

This TV show highlights the issues concerning gender, race, and class. Episode 1, Season 2 of the show titled “Playing in the Deep End” focuses on issues such as servant-master relationship, race, class, and gender. The setting is in a suburb, and in particular Jim’s house. The movie is set in the current decade. The episode begins with Katheryn trying to wash a stain from her clothes. However, she is sobbing amidst the efforts to remove the stain. Hanna, a house cleaner, tries to console Katheryn but she turns her down. Meanwhile, Candace, Hanna’s alienated daughter, corners Jim in his study and makes demands for money. Candace is involved in multiple scandals, including having an affair with Jim. She is willing to do anything to get what she wants. She disguises the affair by pretending to be a law student who is interested in the types of cases being handled by Jim. Unfortunately, Wyatt discovers the affair between Candace and his dad, leading him to confront her openly.

The issue of class is evident in the episode. Hanna, the new maid and her daughter Candace are from the lower social class. Hanna is a poor maid working in Jim’s house. Hanna suffers from poor health but she is determined to ensure that her children overcome poverty by working hard and despite her poor state of health. While Candace is still poor, she is determined to do anything to get rich including blackmail. She has set her eyes on Jim, a successful lawyer, as her target. She leads a promiscuous lifestyle and engages in underhand dealings. When she realizes that Jim lives in a posh house, she makes threats for more money. Jim is determined to get rid of her but is unable to do so. This is partly due to his weaknesses and her conniving ways mainly through sexual advances.

Sex And The City

The major theme covered by the TV show is gender and feminism. This TV show starts with a voice from Carrie Bradshaw, a young woman who recently moved in Manhattan and working for a popular news firm. Carrie tells the story of a journalist named Elizabeth who falls in love with a charming young man. After two weeks, the man cuts links with Elizabeth who wallows in heartbreak. Carrie ponders why there are so many “great unmarried women, but no great unmarried men”. Carrie seeks to demystify such issues affecting the society. Towards the end of the episode, Carrie declares that, together with her friends, they would begin to have sex like men. The episode shows that just like men, women can achieve sexual freedom and independence. The TV show goes against the popular culture and creates the notion that women too can use men as sex objects.

The TV shows are similar in that they all reflect issues affecting the modern society. The TV shows are quite different in that they explore varying themes. ‘Black-ish’ focuses on the issue of race as exemplified by the recent incidences of police brutality towards the blacks. ‘Haves And The Have Nots’ focuses on the issue of social class in the society. The TV show enables readers to parallel living in wealth and in poverty. ‘Sex And the City’ focuses on gender. The TV show is an attempt to demystify feminism and show that women can do things just like men.

Works Cited

Black-ish. Directed by Kenya Barris, Peter Saji, and Scott Weinger, produced by Anthony           Anderson, Laurence Fishburne, 2016.

The Haves And The Have Nots. Directed by Tyler Perry, 2013

Sex And The City. Written by Darren Star, 1998

Related: Jacques LeCoq

Jacques LeCoq character and how to create dynamic performance


Study LeCoq’s “clown” character. What are the main elements of this character and how can it be used to create a dynamic performance?

Sample paper

Jacques LeCoq

Jacques Lecoq is knowns as one of the most influential acting instructors who ever lived during the twentieth century. His training method was not only practical but also tailored for each student’s needs. With regard to this, his training method was considered highly impactful in helping students excel in acting. His training method basically involved in nurturing the talent and creativity of the individual actors. Much success was achieved by helping actors realized their interests and areas of specialization as opposed to forcing them into what they were not naturally capable. Jacques Lecoq, just like earlier artists, introduced the use of clown characters in performances.

Lecoq defined a clown character as a figure of play which is in a state of being and enables a direct connection with the audience (Mangan 158). Lecoq believed that the clown enabled the performer to reveal the inner self to the audience. The clown is a mirror of the performer, and does not in any way serve the purpose of hiding the vulnerabilities of the performer. In fact, Lecoq encouraged performers to reveal their weaknesses to the audience, for they could add to the dramatic strength during a performance. Lecoq held the notion that individuals had multiple clown characters within themselves which he referred to as inner clown. The clown is expected to play with the audience (159). Further, the success of the clown is hedged on the premise of how he interacts or plays with the audience. The clown is more effective than a mask because it has the potential to show the inner self of an individual.

The making of a clown entails a personal process whereby the performer is even expected to reveal personal vulnerabilities to the audience. Such personal vulnerabilities draws the audience into the actor’s world, enabling them to become empathetic towards the performer. According to Peacock, another important element of the clown character is the ability to “discover the audience” (34). This refers to the ability to make connections with the audience. The clown is supposed to study the audience and develop direct contact with them, and play with them. This is unlike actors who often stay on stage. A clown must be a performer who exemplifies great feat that goes against logic (35). The clown must be able to turn the tide and introduce new thinking and ways of doing things. A clown should be able to go against the laid down order of things. The clown should be able to look at the world from a new perspective and thus develop the ability to enrich the performance.

The clown character can be used to create a dynamic performance. The clown character interacts directly with the audience, and is expected to play with them. This makes it more interesting to the audience. Clown characters are able to draw different emotional reactions from the audience. This is because they connect directly with the audience. Further, clown characters can be used to convey a host of behaviors to the audience. For instance, the clown character can portray himself or herself as irresponsible, immature, chaotic, fun-loving, chaotic, and in other ways that make the performance dynamic.


Works Cited

Mangan, Michael. The Drama, Theatre and Performance Companion. London, UK: Palgrave           Macmillan, 2013. Print.

Peacock, Louise. Serious Play: Modern Clown Performance. Bristol, UK: Intellect, 2009. Print.

Whitman, Dickinson, Longfellow and the Early Writers

The Threepenny Opera and Rent Plays


Research the origins, content and production details of both The Threepenny Opera and Rent plays.

How did these plays affect social change?

Consider the following when completing research:

What connection do these plays have to their ‘original’ theatrical works?

How has modern theatre been able to shape these works into something significant that theatre in other eras may not have been successful in producing? (stagecraft, technology, musical style, etc)

What are the political/social/environmental/economic settings in which these plays were written and performed?

How do the themes of the play speak to the political/social/environmental/economic settings? What connections are made? What questions are asked of the audience when they watch this play in their current setting?

How does the play affect social change based on the themes and the setting of the audience?

Sample paper

The Threepenny Opera and Rent Plays

With time artist are revolutionizing literature to make it more interesting and exciting. However, regardless of the changes in literature in the new era, some of the characteristics and features of literature will always remain the same. Most of the artistic works put forth by most artists are meant for entertainment, educative and preservation of culture. One of the earliest from literature that exists today includes a play. A play is a form of literature written by a playwright and it usually consists of a dialogue between characters. In most cases, plays are meant to be performed rather than just being read.

Threepenny Opera is one of the most treasured plays of all time. The play was an attempt to satirize opera and operetta and to create a new genre of musical theater. The play is widely known as the opera for beggars and is written by Kurt Weill and Bert Brecht. Act one begins in the shop of Jonathan, who rather runs an unusual business as he is the boss of London beggars. Jonathan trains beggars for a cut for whatever they get after a daylong of begging. The play revolves around Mr. and Mrs. Peachum, Polly, Tiger Brown, Mack, and Macheath. Polly was supposed to marry Macheath but rather Marries Mack putting a target on his back (Brecht). He is hunted down by Brown to be executed on the orders of Macheath only to pardon him at the end. On the other hand, Rent is based on Puccini’s La Boehme. The story revolves around Mark Cohen, who is the narrator, his former girlfriend, Maureen Johnson and his friend Roger. This group of bohemians is struggling with life in modern day East Village New York. A former tragedy makes Roger numb to life and mark attempts to capture it to make a film. However, in the following year, there is more tragedy as the group has to deal with love, loss, AIDS and a modern day life.

Related: White Biting Dog Play

Question 1

Threepenny opera is a play with music by Bertolt Brecht, and it is adopted from German dramatist Elisabeth Hauptmann’s translation of John Gay’s ballad opera or the beggar’s opera. The music of this play is by Kurt Weill, and François Villon and Rudyard Kipling work on the insertion ballads. The play basically offers a socialist critique of the capitalist world. The play was first performed in 1928 at Berlin’s Theater am Schiff Bauer Damm.  On the other hand, Rent is a rock musical with music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, which is basically based on Giacomo Puccini’s opera La Boheme. The music was first performed in a workshop production at New York Theater Workshop in 1993. The music won a Pulitzer Prize, and it was a success (Meech).

Question 2

Life is full of constant changes from time to time, and one of the most common changes in both plays is the social change. Social change may occur in various forms such as changes in nature, social institutions, social behaviors and social relations. In the play The Threepenny Opera, there is a clear and concrete evidence of arbitrariness of values which highly contribute to the social change of the society. Peachum uses traditional moral stance such as quoting the bible only for his own personal interests. Everyone in the play knows that Peachum is not charitable, but the use of the bible quotes my deceive people that he wants to help. Moreover, Macheath wants to live his crime life put his money in the bank and lead a decent life although he has no intention of leaving his values. On the other hand in the play Rent, April, who was Roger’s girlfriend, contributed in a significant way the change of life and behavior of Roger after she killed herself. Moreover, HIV is a major contributor to changes in the life of all the friends considering that Roger stayed in his apartment for six months without going out, and this completely changed him. Moreover, Benny changed after moving out, and he now wants to evict the squatters.

Question 3

Both plays are based on traditional set up of a society and incorporate music in most of its scenes. Both of the plays are not originally written by the play writers but rather are based on some other people’s works. The play The Threepenny Opera is written by Bertolt Brecht, but the play is originally based on John Gay’s ballad opera. The same case to the play Rent, the play is written by Jonathan Larson but originally written by Giacomo Puccini.

Related: An Analysis of the Play ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’

Question 4

Back in the 20th century, most of the theaters around the world were using computer generated sound, light, music and stagecraft. However, with the changes in technology, images are conjured by theater makers, the sound is directly fed into the ears of the audiences and at times, the audiences can contribute to the development of scripts. Moreover, the modern theaters have improved the stagecraft that helps to capture the attention of the audiences and it is usually in line with the themes of the play (Meech).

Question 5

The Threepenny Opera is set in a low and middle class set up. The economic power of the characters ranges from middle class like of that of tiger brown to that of low class like that Macheath who steals from other people. Moreover, the play shows low degrees of morality as most of the characters are engaged in activities that are not, morally upright such as bribe and extortion. On the other hand, rent is set in a low economic power set up where characters are unable to cater for their basic needs.  Rodgers and Mark are unable to raise their rent. The political environment of the play is democratic and friendly since Maureen is allowed to stage protests. However, the play contains some scenes of moral degradation.

Question 6

The theme of love is evident in both plays where Macheath is in love with Polly and want to marry her, but instead, poly is in love with Mack and marries him. On realization that Polly has married Mack, Macheath commands tiger to hunt Mack and execute him. On the other hand, Roger is in love with April, and when she dies, his life changes completely. From the above example, it is evident that themes such as love used in the play can completely change the social and political environment to either make them favorable or unfavorable depending on the victims.

Question 7

The themes used in the plays shows that life of a human being is full of changes and changes are inevitable. Thus, when changes occur there must be changes in the social set-up of the individuals involved. The changes may either be positive or negative. Themes such as self-interest, love, the brutality of humans, sex, aids, and change have changed the social set up of the characters in the plays.

Works Cited

Brecht, Bertolt. Brecht Collected Plays: 2: Man Equals Man; Elephant Calf; Threepenny Opera; Mahagonny; Seven Deadly Sins. A&C Black,, 2015.

Meech, A. “Brecht’s The Threepenny Opera for the National Theatre: a 3p Opera?” n Staging and Performing Translation (2011): (126-138).

Whitman, Dickinson, Longfellow and the Early Writers

White Biting Dog Play


Read Judith Thompson’s White Biting Dog.Here are the questions to answer about the play.

  1. What is your initial reaction to the relationship between Cape and Glidden?
  2. Does Cape’s mental state seem ‘stable’ at this point in the play? Did he really have a breakdown? Explain.
  3. How is Pony’s trance experience an example of “magic” realism”?
  4. Describe what you know about Cape and Lomia’s relationship at the end of Act One.
  5. Why does Cape lie to Glidden? Who benefits from this deception?
  6. Cape says things to Pony that are mean, aggressive and hurtful. What is her reaction to the way Cape speaks to her, and what does this tell you about her character?
  7. What does Cape insist that he and Lomia have in common? What is her reaction to this?
  8. From either Act, provide an example of a remark that is discriminatory to homosexuals, an example of a remark that is discriminatory to one or more race, and a remark that is discriminatory towards women. What purpose do these serve in this play?
  9. When Glidden starts talking about Australia, is it an escape from his reality, or something else? Explain.
  10. The blood in the fridge, the dogs in the freezer and even the moss in Glidden’s bed are examples of Thompson’s magic realism. Explain the effect that these all have on the play and the audience.
  11. Did Pony and Glidden both sacrifice themselves? Explain.
  12. Describe each of the characters
  13. How is the theme of “choice” expressed throughout this play? How does Thompson use the script, characterization and stagecraft in order to emphasize this theme throughout?
  14. Describe how the setting for both Acts (using the various scene locations) is significant to the play.
  15. Describe each character’s relationship to the main theme of the play.
  16. How are father-son and father-daughter relationships portrayed in this play? Provide specific examples.
  17. Describe how tension is created for the audience. Use at least one specific example in which tension is meant to be experienced, and explain how Thompson achieves this.
  18. Are all tensions resolved at the end of this play? Explain.

Sample paper

White Biting Dog Play

Question 1

Cape and Glidden seem to have a strong positive relationship. Cape lives with his father, Glidden, and is determined to save him from the unknown disease he is suffering from. This relationship indicates a close-knit family.

Question 2

Although Cape’s mental state seems unstable, he is perfectly normal. However, he is having a nervous breakdown following his recent divorce. This can be supported by the fact that he nearly jumps off the bridge before a white dog appears and talks to him.

Question 3

Pony’s trance experience is a good example of “magic realism.” The author combines the elements of a realistic narrative with fantasy or surreal dream elements. At one moment, Pony is singing and can be said to be normal while at the next moment, she makes a connection with Cape and they both fall into a state of trance.

Question 4

Cape dislikes Lomia for leaving his father. He is also angry at Lomia because she was unfaithful to his father on numerous occasions.

Question 5

Cape lies to Glidden that indeed Lomia has had a change of feelings towards him. Lomia and Pascal benefits from this deception – both are offered a place to sleep and also gives Lomia a cheque.

Question 6

Cape tells Pony that he is incapable of reciprocating her love. After hearing these words, Pony is devastated. To make things worse, she feels she is possessed by evil after she opened up to Cape. Pony’s character shows a vulnerable woman. She falls in love easily and Cape takes advantage of this.

Question 7

Cape and Lomia lack an inner life. They are like impenetrable shields that do not allow anything to pass through. Lomia does not accept Glidden back to her life. Her reaction is negative in that she only pretends to like Glidden.

Question 8

Discriminatory remark to homosexuals: After Pony finds Cape and Pascal in bed, she says to herself: “You are my dog, my doggie dog.” Remark that is discriminatory towards women: Pascal says to Lomia: “YOU MADE ME CRUEL…”Squeeze me harder…, pretend you hate me, that I’m a dirty slut” (39). These remarks helps to make the play more realistic.

Related paper: Mary Gaitskill’s The Girl on the Plane

Question 9

When he talks about Australia, it is a kind of escape from reality. Glidden is fantasizing about how fantastic his life may become if turned around.

Question 10

Magic realism involves alteration of the common reality. In the play, magical realism makes the perceptions of a particular character more marvelous. Magic realism causes readers to be torn between two opposing viewpoints about reality.

Question 11

Both Pony and Glidden sacrificed themselves. Pony sacrifices herself so that Cape can have Pascal who he is determined to get so as to break the bonds between him and his mother. Glidden kills himself after he realizes that Lomia is not in love with him. He sacrifices himself so that Cape can be happy.

Question 12

Cape is melancholic character about to commit suicide. He meets Pony, a psychic and innocent girl whom he seems to have fallen in love with. Lomia is portrayed as uncaring, having abandoned Glidden. Glidden is on his deathbed and seems confused. Pascal is portrayed as disloyal and dishonest. After sometime, he falls to Cape’s charms and abandons Lomia. The dog is portrayed as the savior.

Question 13

The theme of choice is expressed by the various characters’ freedom to choose their final destiny. Glidden is destined to die, while Pony makes the choice to take her life. Lomia chooses Pascal over Glidden. When Glidden and Pony die, Cape and Lomia are affected in different ways. Both choose who they will mourn. This represents stagecraft.                                                                                                                         

Question 14

The use of different scene locations helps Thompson to bring out a number of themes. The house is foreboding of death which haunts Glidden and Pony. The sidewalk indicates how outside forces come and destroy or change the lives of those in the house. The different scenes are also important in helping the play seem realistic to the audience.

Question 15

The main theme in the play is salvation, which entails saving others and saving oneself. The dog saves Cape from committing suicide, and Cape must now save his ailing father. Pony is unable to save herself from a possessive evil that torments her. Lomia and Pascal must guard their love but in the end they are unable to do so, as Pascal ends up sleeping with Cape.

Question 16

Father-son and father-daughter relationships are portrayed as close knit relationships. For example, Cape is determined to set aside his hate towards Lomia and ensure that his father is finally happy by getting back with Lomia. He sleeps with Pascal to ensure that his affair with Lomia ends. After Pony kills herself, she explains to her Dad why she chose to end her life. She claims to have been “invaded”, indicating a close relationship between the two.

Question 17

Tension is created in different ways. For example, the Thomson employs monologue to create tension among the audience. Monologue is employed in the beginning of the play cause tension. Drumming is also used to create a tense atmosphere. In Act One, Cape is about to commit suicide. A “soundtrack” is used to reflect the tense moments as he is just about to jump to his death.

Question 18

Tensions are not resolved at the end of the play. Pony and Glidden face their untimely death. Lomia is left clutching Glidden’s body, and so is Cape clutching to Pony’s body. Cape’s efforts to save his father has failed.  In addition, Pascal left Lomia following a confrontation. Cape and Lomia are left devastated following the deaths. The tensions are thus not resolved, but comes to an end following the deaths of Pony and Glidden.

Work Cited

Thompson, Judith. White Biting Dog & Other Plays. , 2014. Print.

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