By Tom Stoppard
The performs during this assortment exhibit together the 'frivolous' and 'serious' points of Tom Stoppard's expertise: his feel of enjoyable, his feel of theatre, his feel of the absurd, and his presents for parody and satire. the writer rounds off his short advent, giving the genesis of every piece, with the remark: 'The function of the theatre is way debated (by virtually no one, of course), however the factor defines itself in perform at first as a game. This turns out satisfactory'.
Leading off is the true Inspector Hound, the last word country-house whodunnit; soiled Linen strikes a Whitehall farce to Parliament sq.; Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot's Macbeth subverts Shakespeare; and After Magritte explains the inexplicable.
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The performs during this assortment demonstrate together the 'frivolous' and 'serious' points of Tom Stoppard's expertise: his experience of enjoyable, his experience of theatre, his feel of the absurd, and his presents for parody and satire. the writer rounds off his short advent, giving the genesis of every piece, with the remark: 'The position of the theatre is far debated (by nearly no one, of course), however the factor defines itself in perform at the beginning as a activity.
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This is not quite "selfishness," for that implies concerns too small and methods too direct; "selfmanship" connotes a world-encountering wholeness, complete with every kind of deviousness and audacious grasp. One of the most revealing commentaries on this kind of comic heroism is to be found in the deathless hero of the popular modern Greek shadow theater, a certain Karaghiozes, whose significance will be described in what is to follow. Here be it said only, in reply to possible objections to the use of a modern Greek cultural phenomenon as a key to anything ancient, that there is a growing tendency to recognize the continuity of Greek culture from its beginnings to the present, especially as regards popular psychology.
2 In the Acharntans the hero's ultimate exploit is to win a first in the Feast of Cups, the yearly drinking contest, which was a favorite feature of the Anthesteria; and as he staggers off to collect his prize, supported by two wenches, the chorus follows him with hallelujahs. In the Knights the Sausage Seller is victorious in a contest of vileness, and proves his supremacy by outstripping Cleon in the attractive accomplishments of vulgarity, demagoguery, and bribery. T h e Clouds is a difficult play, in view of the confusion arising between the earlier, lost version and the one which we have; however the earlier one ended, our version ends with the hero, in whatever mood of regeneration and repentance, explicitly rejecting the idea of due legal process and squaring accounts by an act of premeditated arson, performed with the good will of Hermes, god of rogues.
Large sprays of wit, satire, slapstick, lyric, whimsy, realism, obscenity, and sheer nonsense come tumbling out in bacchanalian abundance, and in the midst of the cheerful tumult, it is vain, not to say absurd, to try to catch the poet, unmask him, and make him say his moral catechism. The effort to do so always leads to the same maddening and irresistible figure who avers that he is the best influence in Greece, ι 4 CRITICISM AND OLD COMEDY constantly improving his fellow citizens by defending them from demagogues, sophists, and Euripides, and feeding them on the finest comic fare conceivable, in contrast to the vulgar and poverty-stricken offerings of his less fortunate rivals.