IGNOU MEG 02 British Drama Solved Assignment 2023-2024

 IGNOU MEG 02 British Drama Solved Assignment 2023-24 | MA ENGLISH Assignment

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IGNOU MEG 02 Solved Assignment PDF,  MEG 02 British Drama Solved Assignment 2024

Section A

Q1. Critically comment on the following passages with reference to the context, in not more than 150 words each:

(a) O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven, It had the primal eldest curse upon't A brother's murder! Pray can I not. Though inclination be as sharp as will.

The Weight of Guilt:

"O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven": Claudius starts with a powerful image. He describes his crime, the murder of his brother, as "rank," meaning rotten and offensive. It's so bad, he imagines the stench reaching the heavens, signifying a transgression against God and morality.

"It hath the primal eldest curse upon't": This line deepens the sense of guilt. Claudius compares his act to the "primal eldest curse," a clear reference to the biblical story of Cain and Abel, where the first murder occurred. He positions himself as a repeat offender, carrying the weight of history's gravest sin.

"A brother's murder!": This blunt statement emphasizes the intimacy and severity of his crime. Killing a brother is a violation of family bonds, adding another layer of betrayal to the act.

The Desire for Forgiveness, Hindered by Guilt:

"Pray can I not?": Here, Claudius expresses a flicker of hope for redemption. He wonders if he can pray for forgiveness.

"Though inclination be as sharp as will": This suggests a genuine desire for prayer, a yearning for forgiveness as strong as his will.

"My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent": However, Claudius acknowledges that his overwhelming guilt overpowers his good intentions. He feels too tainted to truly pray.

A Man Trapped:

"And, like a man to double business bound": This metaphor depicts Claudius as someone pulled in two directions. He wants both the benefits of his crime (the crown) and forgiveness, but knows they're incompatible.

"I stand in pause where I shall first begin, And both neglect": This line reflects his paralysis. He can't commit to either seeking forgiveness or embracing his sin fully. He's stuck in this agonizing middle ground.

A Spark of Hope, Quickly Extinguished?

"What if this cursed hand Were thicker than itself with brother's blood": This question hints at a desperate hope. Claudius wonders if even more blood on his hands could make a difference. It might be a twisted attempt to justify his actions or a morbid curiosity about the limits of redemption.

"Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens To wash it white as snow?": This line could be interpreted in two ways. Claudius might be genuinely seeking solace, believing God's mercy is boundless. However, it could also be a cynical question, doubting the possibility of true forgiveness.

The Speech's Significance:

This soliloquy reveals the complexity of Claudius's character. He's not a one-dimensional villain. He understands the gravity of his sin and desires forgiveness, but his ambition and the benefits of his crime hold him back. It's a powerful moment in the play, showcasing the internal struggles of a man who has committed a terrible act.

(b) Galatea never does quite like Pygmalion: relation to her is too godlike to be altogether agreeable.

However, this sentence suggests a more nuanced relationship:

Galatea's Discomfort: It implies Galatea doesn't fully reciprocate Pygmalion's love. The phrase "never does quite like" suggests a lingering unease in their relationship.

The Godlike Power Imbalance: The reason for her discomfort is attributed to the dynamic between them. The statement says the relationship is "too godlike" for Galatea. This hints at a power imbalance. Pygmalion, in a way, "created" her. This godlike status might make him seem distant, controlling, or even intimidating to Galatea.

Possible Interpretations:

Yearning for Autonomy: Perhaps Galatea desires a more equal partnership. Being brought to life by Pygmalion might make her feel like his possession rather than an independent being. She might crave a relationship built on mutual respect and shared experiences, not one based on Pygmalion's initial creation of her.

Fear of the Unknown: Being a newly created being, Galatea might find Pygmalion's power unsettling. He holds the key to her existence, which could be frightening.

Loss of Innocence: The act of creation could be seen as a loss of innocence for Galatea. She never experienced a natural birth or childhood. This dependence on Pygmalion might create a sense of incompleteness or a longing for a more "normal" existence.

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(c) What boots it then to think of God or heaven ? Away with such fancies and despair; Despairin God, and trust in Beelzebub ... Abjure this magic, turn to God again.

Faustus's Desperation:

"What boots it then to think of God or heaven?": This opening line sets the stage. Faustus questions the point of believing in God or heaven if he's already damned. "Boots" means "profits" here, implying a sense of futility.

"Away with such fancies and despair": He dismisses any lingering hope of salvation as mere "fancies" and chooses despair.

"Despairin God, and trust in Beelzebub": This line is a desperate act of defiance. Faustus throws away faith in God and embraces Beelzebub, another name for Satan. He throws his lot in with the devil.

A Flicker of Doubt:

"Abjure this magic, turn to God again": Suddenly, a voice (possibly his conscience or an angel) urges him to renounce his pact and return to God.

"Ay, and Faustus will turn to God again": For a fleeting moment, Faustus seems receptive to the idea.

The Final Choice:

"To God? he loves thee not": However, he quickly rejects the notion. He doubts God's love for him, believing himself beyond redemption.

"The god thou serv'st is thine own appetite": This line reveals a deeper truth. Faustus blames God but acknowledges his own desires as the true driving force behind his pact. He craved power and knowledge for himself, not for any righteous purpose.

"Wherein is fixed the love of Belzebub": He confirms his commitment to the devil. His desires, symbolized by "appetite," are now intertwined with the power of Beelzebub.

The Significance of the Passage:

This soliloquy showcases Faustus's moral dilemma. He wrestles with guilt and fear of damnation, but his ambition and thirst for knowledge overpower his conscience. The passage is a turning point, marking his decisive turn towards darkness.


(d) Astride of a grave and a difficult birth Down in the hole, lingeringly, the gravedigger puts on the forceps. We have time to grow old. The air is full of our cries. But habit is a great deadener.

The Juxtaposition of Life and Death:

"Astride of a grave and a difficult birth": The play constantly explores the absurdity of existence. This line perfectly captures that by placing birth (a beginning) right next to a grave (an end). We are literally "astride" these two opposing forces.

"Down in the hole, lingeringly, the gravedigger puts on the forceps": The image of the gravedigger using forceps is a dark but darkly funny one. It merges the act of childbirth (bringing life into the world) with the act of burial (preparing for death). It emphasizes the cyclical nature of life and death.

The Length of Life:

"We have time to grow old": This line stands in contrast to the constant reminders of death. While life may end, it also offers the possibility of a long journey. We have the "time" to experience the world, grow, and age.

"The air is full of our cries": This image suggests the universality of human suffering throughout life. It represents the pain, hardship, and struggles we all face.

The Power of Habit:

"But habit is a great deadener": This is the final and perhaps most important line. It suggests that despite the suffering and the awareness of our mortality, we become accustomed to it all. Habit dulls our senses and emotions, making us numb to the absurdity of our existence.


Beckett, through Vladimir, ponders the human condition. We are born, we suffer, we grow old, and we die. This cycle is inescapable. Yet, within this framework, we have a lifetime to experience the world. The play doesn't offer answers or solutions, but it compels us to confront the absurdity of life and the deadening effect of habit. Perhaps, the act of acknowledging this absurdity itself is a way to break free from its numbing power.

Section B

Q1."Beckett rejects the received logic of form and conventional structure." Critically comment.

Beckett rejects the received logic of form and conventional structure. Critically comment , Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” stands as a seminal work of 20th-century literature, challenging traditional dramatic norms and defying conventional structures of narrative and form. We will critically examine Beckett’s rejection of received logic in “Waiting for Godot.” We will delve into the play’s unconventional structure, the deconstruction of form, and how these elements serve to convey Beckett’s existential and absurdist themes.

In the opening act of “Waiting for Godot,” Samuel Beckett lays the foundation for his audacious departure from conventional form and structure. The play commences with two characters, Vladimir and Estragon, situated in a barren and desolate landscape, engaging in an activity that is both mundane and enigmatic – they are waiting for someone named Godot. However, the enigma lies in the fact that Godot never makes an appearance throughout the play, leaving the audience as well as the characters in a state of perpetual anticipation. This waiting becomes not only the central theme but also the structural nucleus of the entire play.

Beckett’s choice to portray this unending waiting challenges the conventional expectations of dramatic storytelling. In traditional drama, there exists a clear and discernible structure: a beginning that introduces characters and sets the stage, a middle marked by rising action and conflict, and an end that brings resolution and closure. However, in “Waiting for Godot,” Beckett disrupts this conventional narrative structure by presenting a situation where nothing substantial transpires. Instead of a clear beginning, middle, and end, the audience is confronted with a cyclical and repetitive sequence of events – the characters waiting, engaging in seemingly meaningless conversations, and, ultimately, remaining in a state of suspended animation.

This deliberate choice to immerse the audience in the existential absurdity of waiting defies traditional dramatic norms. Beckett elongates the passage of time to the point where it tests the limits of human patience and comprehension. Through the lens of Vladimir and Estragon’s ceaseless waiting, he invites the audience to ponder the futility of human existence and the seemingly pointless pursuits that occupy our lives. In this sense, the play transcends the boundaries of conventional theater, serving as a profound exploration of the human condition and its inherent absurdity.

By establishing waiting as the play’s central theme and structural backbone, Beckett compels the audience to grapple with the very essence of existence itself. He challenges us to confront the notion that life often consists of repetitive and seemingly meaningless activities, and that the search for meaning and purpose can sometimes lead to an absurd and unending cycle of anticipation. In “Waiting for Godot,” Beckett masterfully employs the rejection of conventional form to convey the existential absurdity of human existence, leaving a lasting impression that continues to provoke contemplation and discussion among audiences and scholars alike.

Minimalist Set and Dialogue:

Beckett’s rejection of conventional form extends to the minimalist set and sparse dialogue. The entire play takes place on a barren stage with only a tree as a backdrop, emphasizing the emptiness and futility of the characters’ existence. The dialogue between Vladimir and Estragon is marked by repetition, non-sequiturs, and wordplay, often devoid of a clear purpose or logical progression. This minimalist approach challenges the expectation of a well-structured narrative with meaningful dialogue.

The Cyclical Nature of Time:

Beckett further rejects conventional structure through the cyclical nature of time in “Waiting for Godot.” Days blend into one another, and the characters’ memories are hazy, blurring the boundaries between past, present, and future. This temporal ambiguity disrupts the linear progression of time found in traditional storytelling. Beckett’s portrayal of time serves to highlight the characters’ sense of ennui and the overarching theme of the human condition.

The Influence of the Theater of the Absurd:

Beckett’s rejection of received logic is strongly influenced by the Theater of the Absurd, a movement in drama that emerged in the mid-20th century. Playwrights like Jean-Paul Sartre, Albert Camus, and Eugène Ionesco sought to depict the absurdity and meaninglessness of human existence. Beckett, in “Waiting for Godot,” aligns himself with this movement by employing fragmented narratives, disjointed dialogue, and the absurdity of the human condition to challenge conventional dramatic structure.

The Lack of Resolution:

“Waiting for Godot” concludes without a clear resolution or closure. Godot never arrives, and the characters, Vladimir and Estragon, are left in the same state of uncertainty and waiting. This lack of resolution defies the traditional dramatic structure, which typically includes a climax and resolution. Beckett’s choice to leave the audience in a state of perpetual waiting mirrors the existential condition of humanity, where answers and meaning may forever elude us.

The Role of Beckett’s Direction:

Beckett was not only the playwright but also directed many productions of “Waiting for Godot.” His directorial choices further emphasized the rejection of conventional form. Beckett insisted on strict adherence to his stage directions, highlighting the importance of physicality and movement on the sparse stage. This control over the production process allowed him to convey his vision of the play’s form and structure in a highly specific manner.

Breaking the Fourth Wall:

Another way Beckett challenges conventional form in “Waiting for Godot” is by breaking the fourth wall. Characters frequently acknowledge the presence of the audience, blurring the line between fiction and reality. This meta-theatrical aspect disrupts the traditional illusion of the theater and invites the audience to engage with the play on a more existential level, questioning the nature of their own existence.

The Reception and Impact:

Upon its premiere in 1953, “Waiting for Godot” initially confounded and divided audiences and critics alike. Many were unaccustomed to the play’s rejection of conventional form and structure. However, it soon gained recognition as a groundbreaking work of literature and theater, influencing subsequent generations of playwrights and artists. Beckett’s willingness to challenge received logic in dramatic form opened doors for experimentation and innovation in theater.


Beckett rejects the received logic of form and conventional structure. Critically comment, In “Waiting for Godot,” Samuel Beckett’s rejection of received logic of form and conventional structure is a bold and deliberate choice that serves to convey the play’s existential and absurdist themes. Through its minimalist set, cyclical time, sparse dialogue, and lack of resolution, the play challenges the traditional expectations of dramatic storytelling. Beckett’s alignment with the Theater of the Absurd and his directorial control further solidify the play’s rejection of conventional form. “Waiting for Godot” stands as a testament to Beckett’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of what theater can achieve, inviting audiences to contemplate the absurdity of human existence and the limitations of conventional storytelling.

Beckett rejects the received logic of form and conventional structure. Critically comment, The shedding light on how Beckett’s artistic choices in “Waiting for Godot” continue to resonate with audiences and scholars, making it a timeless masterpiece of modern drama.

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Q2. Discuss the typical Shakespearean comic elements in the play in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

1. Mistaken Identities and Confusion:

Lovers' Mix-ups: The play revolves around the intertwining romantic entanglements of four Athenian lovers: Hermia, Lysander, Helena, and Demetrius. Their interactions are characterized by mistaken identities, miscommunication, and confusion, leading to comedic misunderstandings and conflicts.

Puck's Pranks: The mischievous sprite Puck (Robin Goodfellow) adds to the confusion by mistakenly anointing the wrong lovers' eyes with love potion, causing them to fall in and out of love with each other in absurd and humorous ways.

2. Physical and Verbal Humor:

Bottom's Transformation: The subplot involving the Athenian craftsmen, particularly Bottom, highlights physical humor and absurdity. Bottom's comical transformation into an ass by Puck and his subsequent interactions with Titania, the Queen of the Fairies, provide moments of slapstick and verbal wit.

Quirky Character Interactions: Shakespeare uses witty dialogue, puns, and wordplay among the characters to create humorous situations and entertain the audience. For instance, the banter between Hermia and Helena or the exchanges between the mechanicals during their rehearsal scenes.

3. Satirical Elements and Social Commentary:

Satire of Love and Courtship: The play satirizes traditional ideas of love and courtship, highlighting the irrationality and fickleness of romantic desire. The lovers' quarrels and sudden shifts in affection underscore Shakespeare's critique of societal expectations and gender dynamics.

Parody of Drama and Performance: The mechanicals' inept attempts to rehearse and perform a play for the Duke's wedding celebration parody the conventions of Renaissance drama. Their earnest but bumbling efforts provide comic relief and a meta-theatrical commentary on theatrical production.

4. Supernatural and Magical Elements:

Fairy World Intrigues: The magical realm of the fairies, particularly Oberon and Titania's dispute over the changeling boy and the mischief caused by Puck's interventions, adds a fantastical element to the play. The supernatural occurrences contribute to the play's whimsical and dreamlike atmosphere, enhancing its comedic appeal.

5. Resolution and Reconciliation:

Comic Resolution: The play's resolution, where the misunderstandings are resolved, and the lovers are reunited through the fairies' interventions, culminates in a joyous and harmonious conclusion. The reconciliation of the lovers and the blessing bestowed by Theseus and Hippolyta underscore the play's comic resolution and restoration of order.


"A Midsummer Night's Dream" exemplifies Shakespeare's mastery of comedic elements through its blend of mistaken identities, physical humor, witty dialogue, satirical commentary, and supernatural elements. The play's exploration of love, desire, and human folly in a magical setting captivates audiences with its charm, whimsy, and timeless appeal. Shakespeare's deft use of comedic devices ensures that "A Midsummer Night's Dream" remains a beloved classic that continues to entertain and enchant audiences around the world.


Q3. What do you think is the dominant quality of Hamlet’s character? Discuss with suitable examples.

Hamlet, the tragic hero of William Shakespeare’s renowned play “Hamlet,” possesses a multifaceted character marked by numerous qualities and traits. But if there’s one defining characteristic of Hamlet’s character, it would have to be his deep reflection and intelligence. Hamlet is known for his ability to think critically, his tendency toward introspection, and his ability to think critically of himself.

Hamlet’s introspective nature is evident throughout the play, as he frequently engages in self-analysis and contemplation. This quality sets him apart from other Shakespearean protagonists and is a defining aspect of his character. Hamlet’s introspection is most clearly demonstrated in his soliloquies, where he expresses his inner thoughts, emotions, and dilemmas to the audience.

One of the most famous soliloquies in the play occurs in Act 1, Scene 2, when Hamlet first appears. In this soliloquy, he reflects on the hasty marriage of his mother, Queen Gertrude, to his uncle Claudius, who has assumed the throne. He is tormented by the abruptness of this union and the hollowness of the world around him. He exclaims, “Frailty, thy name is woman!” (Act 1, Scene 2), revealing his disillusionment with his mother’s actions and his skepticism about the constancy of human nature.

Act 3, Scene 1 of Hamlet’s famous “To be or not to be” soliloquy serves as another example of his reflective character. He reflects on the nature of life, human sorrow, and the fear of death’s unknown in this soliloquy. He poses important queries concerning the meaning of life and the state of humanity. This self-examination demonstrates Hamlet’s depth of knowledge and philosophical bent.

Amulet’s Intellectual Prowess:

Hamlet’s introspection is closely linked to his intellectual prowess. He is a highly intelligent character with a keen intellect, which he employs throughout the play. His ability to think critically and analyze situations is a defining feature of his character.

For instance, in Act 1, Scene 5, Hamlet quickly discerns that the ghost of his father may be a malevolent spirit aiming to deceive him. He expresses skepticism and caution, stating, “The spirit that I have seen / May be the devil, and the devil hath power / T’assume a pleasing shape” (Act 1, Scene 5). This rational and intellectual approach sets the stage for his quest to ascertain the truth about his father’s murder.

The Influence of Introspection on Hamlet’s Actions:

Hamlet’s introspection has a profound impact on his actions and decisions throughout the play. It is this introspective nature that causes him to question the ghost’s revelation about his father’s murder. While he initially vows to avenge his father’s death, he becomes preoccupied with the moral and ethical implications of murder.

In Act 3, Scene 3, Hamlet has the opportunity to kill Claudius while he is at prayer, a moment when he is vulnerable. However, Hamlet refrains from doing so because he is concerned that killing Claudius at this moment would send him to heaven. He says, “When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage, / Or in th’incestuous pleasure of his bed; / At game, a-swearing, or about some act / That has no relish of salvation in’t— / Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven, / And that his soul may be as damn’d and black / As hell, whereto it goes” (Act 3, Scene 3). This decision reflects Hamlet’s deep moral dilemma and introspective nature. He wrestles with his duty to avenge his father and the moral consequences of his actions.

Hamlet’s introspection also leads to his delay in taking action against Claudius. He questions the nature of the ghost and worries about being deceived by an evil spirit. This inner conflict and contemplation hinder his immediate action, allowing Claudius to continue ruling.

Furthermore, Hamlet’s introspection influences his interactions with others, often causing him to come across as indecisive or erratic. For instance, his treatment of Ophelia, his girlfriend, is influenced by his inner turmoil. He alternates between expressing love and rejecting her, leading to her confusion and distress.


The dominant quality of Hamlet’s character in William Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet” is his profound introspection and intellectual depth. Hamlet’s introspective nature is evident in his frequent soliloquies, where he contemplates the complexities of human existence, morality, and the consequences of his actions. His intellectual prowess allows him to think critically and analyze situations, making him a character of great depth and complexity.

Hamlet’s reflections throughout the play have a big impact on his choices and actions. His introspective character causes him to struggle with moral and ethical issues, which makes him reluctant to exact revenge for his father’s murder and adds to the melancholy way the plot develops. He is one of the most fascinating and recognizable characters in all of literature because of his nuanced personality and internal struggles.

Q4. Can The Alchemist be understood as a satire? Give suitable examples.

Jonson doesn't shy away from satirizing various social classes in London:

The Credulous: The play heavily mocks those obsessed with getting rich quick. Characters like Sir Epicure Mammon, a greedy knight, and Dapper, a gambler seeking an elixir of luck, represent this gullibility. They blindly believe the alchemists' (actually con artists) promises of turning lead into gold.

The Puritans: While religious hypocrisy isn't the main target, Jonson takes aim at the Puritans' strictness and their own materialistic desires. Tribulation Wholesome and Ananias, two Puritan characters, are easily swayed by the prospect of wealth despite their supposed piety.

The Superstitious: The play ridicules the fascination with alchemy and magic as a way to achieve success. Subtle and Dol Common, the fake alchemists, exploit this fascination to manipulate their victims.


Satirical Techniques:

Jonson employs various techniques to deliver his satire:

Exaggeration: The characters' desires and personalities are exaggerated to the point of absurdity. Sir Epicure Mammon's obsession with wealth and his fantastical dreams about using the "philosopher's stone" are prime examples.

Irony: The play is full of ironic situations. The characters who denounce others' vices (like the Puritans) are ultimately revealed to be just as flawed.

Deception: The central plot revolves around the alchemists' elaborate con, highlighting the gullibility of the characters who fall for it.

Jargon and Slang: Jonson cleverly uses alchemical terminology and the slang of different social groups to further expose the absurdity of their pursuits.


Sir Epicure Mammon: This character embodies greed and social climbing. His dream of using the "philosopher's stone" to create endless wealth fuels the humor. His obsession is so intense that he imagines using the gold to indulge in extravagant pleasures and achieve a higher social status.

Face: The witty trickster who runs the schemes for Subtle and Dol Common is another satirical figure. He represents the cunning manipulator who preys on human weakness. His ability to deceive the others with elaborate lies and disguises mocks the ease with which people can be fooled by empty promises.

The Ending: The play ends with the con artists escaping with their loot, leaving the victims in chaos. This comedic resolution satirizes the consequences of greed and blind faith. The characters are left with nothing but their foolish desires.

Through satire, Jonson aims to expose human flaws and societal problems in a way that entertains and provokes reflection. By laughing at the characters' follies, the audience is encouraged to consider their own susceptibility to similar temptations. The Alchemist remains a timeless satire because its themes of greed, ambition, and credulity are still relevant today.


Q5. Discuss the play Pygmalion as a romance? Elaborate.

Pygmalion is a play by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw, named after the Greek mythological figure. It premiered at the Hofburg Theatre in Vienna on 16 October 1913 and was first presented on stage in German. Its English-language premiere took place at His Majesty's Theatre in London's West End in April 1914 and starred Herbert Beerbohm Tree as phonetics professor Henry Higgins and Mrs Patrick Campbell as Cockney flower-girl Eliza Doolittle. Shaw's play has been adapted many times, most notably as the 1938 film Pygmalion, the 1956 stage musical My Fair Lady, and its 1964 film version. Inspiration[edit] In ancient Greek mythology, Pygmalion fell in love with one of his sculptures, which then came to life. The general idea of that myth was a popular subject for Victorian era British playwrights, including one of Shaw's influences, W. S. Gilbert, who wrote a successful play based on the story called Pygmalion and Galatea that was first presented in 1871.

Shaw would also have been familiar with the musical Adonis and the burlesque version, Galatea, or Pygmalion Reversed. Eliza Doolittle was inspired by Kitty Wilson, owner of a sidewalk flower stall at Norfolk Street, Strand, in London. Wilson continued selling flowers at the stall until September, 1958. Her daughter, Betty Benton, then took over, but was forced to close down a month later when the City of London decreed that the corner was no longer "designated" for street trading

Shaw mentioned that the character of Professor Henry Higgins was inspired by several British professors of phonetics: Alexander Melville Bell, Alexander J. Ellis, Tito Pagliardini, but above all the cantankerous Henry Sweet.

Shaw is also very likely to have known the life story of Jacob Henle, a professor at Heidelberg University, who fell in love with Elise Egloff, a Swiss housemaid, forcing her through several years of bourgeois education to turn her into an adequate wife. Egloff died shortly after their marriage. Her story inspired various literary works, including a play by Charlotte Birch-Pfeiffer and a novella by Gottfried Keller, comparing Henle with the Greek Pygmalion

First productions

A Sketch Magazine illustration of Mrs Patrick Campbell as Eliza Doolittle from 22 April 1914. Shaw wrote the part of Eliza expressly for Campbell, who played opposite Herbert Beerbohm Tree as Henry Higgins.After creating the role of Colonel Pickering in the London production, Philip Merivale (second from right) played Henry Higgins opposite Mrs Patrick Campbell (right) when Pygmalion was taken to Broadway (1914)

Shaw wrote the play in early 1912 and read it to actress Mrs Patrick Campbell in June. She came on board almost immediately, but her mild nervous breakdown contributed to the delay of a London production. Pygmalion premièred at the Hofburg Theatre in Vienna on 16 October 1913, in a German translation by Shaw's Viennese literary agent and acolyte, Siegfried Trebitsch.

Its first New York production opened on 24 March 1914 at the German-language Irving Place Theatre starring Hansi Arnstaedt as Eliza.It opened in London on 11 April 1914, at Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree's His Majesty's Theatre, with Campbell as Eliza and Tree as Higgins, and ran for 118 performances.Shaw directed the actors through tempestuous rehearsals, often punctuated by at least one of the two storming out of the theatre in a rage.

A group of people are sheltering from the rain. Among them are the Eynsford-Hills, superficial social climbers eking out a living in "genteel poverty". We first see Mrs Eynsford-Hill and her daughter Clara; Clara's brother Freddy enters having earlier been dispatched to secure them a cab (which they can ill afford), but being rather timid and faint-hearted he has failed to do so. As he goes off once again to find a cab, he bumps into a flower girl, Eliza Doolittle. Her flowers drop into the mud of Covent Garden, the flowers she needs to survive in her poverty-stricken world.

They are soon joined by a gentleman, Colonel Pickering. While Eliza tries to sell flowers to the Colonel, a bystander informs her that another man is writing down everything she says. That man is Henry Higgins, a linguist and phonetician. Eliza worries that Higgins is a police officer and will not calm down until Higgins introduces himself.

It soon becomes apparent that he and Colonel Pickering have a shared interest in phonetics and an intense mutual admiration; indeed, Pickering has come from India specifically to meet Higgins, and Higgins was planning to go to India to meet Pickering. Higgins tells Pickering that he could pass off the flower girl as a duchess merely by teaching her to speak properly.

These words of bravado spark an interest in Eliza, who would love to make changes in her life and become more mannerly, even though to her it only means working in a flower shop. At the end of the act, Freddy returns after finding a taxi, only to find that his mother and sister have gone and left him with the cab. The streetwise Eliza takes the cab from him, using the money that Higgins tossed to her, leaving him on his own.


Q6. Discuss the art of characterisation in The Playboy of the Western World?


Christy Mahon:

Development: Christy is introduced as a timid, oppressed young man running away from his father after allegedly killing him. However, as the play progresses, he transforms into a bold, charismatic figure after the villagers mistakenly elevate him to a hero for his act.

Complexity: Synge portrays Christy with layers of complexity. He wrestles with guilt, fear, and newfound confidence, making him a dynamic character whose internal conflicts drive the plot forward.

Pegeen Mike:

Strength and Independence: Pegeen is portrayed as a strong-willed and independent woman. She runs her father's pub and is unafraid to speak her mind, contrasting sharply with the traditional roles expected of women in rural Irish society at the time.

Vulnerability: Despite her outward strength, Pegeen reveals vulnerability through her emotional attachment to Christy, which complicates her character and adds depth to her interactions.

Old Mahon:

Contrast with Christy: Old Mahon, Christy's father, initially appears as a tyrannical figure who has oppressed his son. His appearance later challenges Christy's newfound image as a hero, highlighting the ambiguity of truth and perception in the play.

Symbolism: Old Mahon symbolizes authority and tradition, contrasting sharply with the younger characters' desire for independence and self-expression.

The Villagers:

Community Dynamics: Synge uses the villagers as a collective character, representing the conservative rural community. Their reactions to Christy's story reveal their superstitions, prejudices, and desires, driving the play's themes of identity and perception.

Comic Relief: The villagers also serve as sources of humor, adding a layer of satire to the play through their exaggerated responses and interactions with Christy.

Overall, Synge's characterization in "The Playboy of the Western World" is richly layered, capturing the complexities of human nature and society through a blend of realism and satire. Each character contributes uniquely to the play's exploration of identity, truth, and the power of storytelling.


Q7. Discuss Murder in the Cathedral as a poetic drama.

Murder in the Cathedral" by T.S. Eliot is indeed a remarkable example of a poetic drama, blending elements of poetry with the dramatic form. Here’s a detailed discussion on why "Murder in the Cathedral" is considered a poetic drama:

Poetic Language and Structure:

Verse Form: Eliot employs a verse form throughout the play, utilizing both rhyme and meter. This deliberate use of poetic structure enhances the musicality and rhythm of the dialogue, elevating the language beyond everyday speech.

Symbolism and Imagery: Eliot's language is rich with symbolism and imagery, which serves to deepen the thematic exploration of martyrdom, faith, and political power. Each poetic image is carefully crafted to evoke multiple layers of meaning, resonating with the play's spiritual and existential themes.

Themes and Philosophical Depth:

Spiritual and Moral Dilemmas: The play explores profound moral and spiritual dilemmas faced by its characters, particularly Thomas Becket. Through poetic dialogue, Eliot delves into Becket's internal struggles and his unwavering commitment to divine justice, highlighting the clash between temporal and spiritual authority.

Historical and Religious Context: Eliot integrates historical events with religious symbolism, offering a nuanced portrayal of the power dynamics between Church and State in medieval England. The poetic form allows Eliot to explore these complex themes with heightened intensity and dramatic impact.

Theatricality and Performance:

Choral Elements: "Murder in the Cathedral" incorporates choral interludes, where the chorus represents various perspectives of the community and adds a collective voice to the narrative. The poetic dialogue of the chorus enhances the ceremonial and ritualistic atmosphere of the play.

Symbolic Action: The play's structure and language emphasize symbolic actions and gestures, such as Becket's martyrdom and the symbolic significance of the four tempters. These elements underscore the play's allegorical nature, inviting deeper reflection on moral choices and spiritual redemption.


In summary, "Murder in the Cathedral" exemplifies the characteristics of a poetic drama through its use of verse, symbolism, thematic depth, and theatricality. T.S. Eliot's mastery of language and form not only enriches the dramatic experience but also elevates the play to a contemplation of timeless human and spiritual concerns.


Q8. Comment on the historical significance of Look Back in Anger.

Look Back in Anger" by John Osborne, first staged in 1956, holds significant historical importance within the realm of British theater and society:

Cultural Impact:

Breaking Tradition: Osborne's play is often credited with marking the beginning of the "Angry Young Men" movement in British drama. It challenged the prevailing conventions of British theater at the time, which often focused on upper-class characters and themes of polite society.

Realism and Social Issues: The play introduced a new wave of realism by depicting the lives of working-class characters, specifically Jimmy Porter, whose anger and disillusionment with society became emblematic of a generation's frustrations.

Social Commentary:

Class Conflict: "Look Back in Anger" critiques class distinctions and societal inequalities. Jimmy Porter's character embodies the working-class struggle against a system perceived as elitist and indifferent to the concerns of ordinary people.

Gender Roles: The play also explores evolving gender dynamics, as seen in the strained relationship between Jimmy and his wife Alison, and challenges traditional stereotypes of women's roles in post-war Britain.

Theatrical Innovation:

Language and Dialogue: Osborne's use of colloquial language and sharp dialogue brought a new authenticity and immediacy to the stage, resonating with audiences who sought more relevant and relatable narratives.

Psychological Depth: The characters in "Look Back in Anger" are psychologically complex, reflecting the anxieties and uncertainties of a post-war generation grappling with identity and purpose.

Historical Legacy:

Impact on British Theater: The play's success paved the way for more experimental and socially conscious works in British theater, influencing playwrights and directors to explore themes of social realism and political engagement.

Cultural Debate: It sparked debates about art's role in society and the representation of working-class voices in literature and theater, contributing to broader discussions about class, identity, and cultural change in post-war Britain.

In conclusion, "Look Back in Anger" remains a landmark in British theater history for its bold exploration of social issues, its innovative theatrical techniques, and its lasting influence on the trajectory of modern drama. It continues to be studied and performed, offering insights into the cultural and social dynamics of its time and resonating with audiences across generations.


Q9. Discuss the Romantic and Modernist conceptions of character in the presentation of Jimmy as the play's protagonist.

In "Look Back in Anger" by John Osborne, Jimmy Porter serves as the protagonist whose character embodies elements of both Romantic and Modernist conceptions, reflecting the tensions and transitions in post-war British society.

Romantic Conceptions of Character:

Individualism and Passion:

Emotional Intensity: Jimmy Porter exhibits a passionate and intense emotional nature, often driven by his anger and frustration with the world around him. His emotions are raw and unrestrained, reminiscent of Romantic ideals that emphasize the individual's emotional truth and authenticity.

Rebellion Against Conformity: Like Romantic heroes who defy societal norms, Jimmy rebels against the constraints of class and convention. His anger stems from a deep-seated dissatisfaction with the status quo, reflecting a Romantic quest for personal and social liberation.

Idealism and Alienation:

Idealistic Vision: Jimmy harbors idealistic beliefs about truth and justice, which fuel his vehement critiques of hypocrisy and complacency in society. His relentless pursuit of honesty and authenticity aligns with Romantic ideals of striving for higher truths and moral integrity.

Sense of Alienation: Despite his passionate convictions, Jimmy experiences a profound sense of alienation from the society he criticizes. This alienation mirrors Romantic themes of the individual's isolation in a morally corrupt or spiritually bankrupt world.

Modernist Conceptions of Character:

Psychological Complexity and Fragmentation:

Inner Turmoil: Jimmy's character is marked by psychological complexity and inner turmoil. His anger and cynicism often mask deeper insecurities and vulnerabilities, revealing a fragmented sense of self typical of Modernist protagonists.

Stream of Consciousness: Osborne employs Jimmy's monologues and rapid shifts in mood to convey the stream-of-consciousness technique favored by Modernist writers. This technique reflects Jimmy's fragmented perception of reality and his struggle to make sense of his place in a changing world.

Critique of Society and Tradition:

Social Criticism: Jimmy's critiques of class privilege, political apathy, and cultural stagnation echo Modernist skepticism towards traditional institutions and values. His disillusionment with post-war Britain reflects a broader Modernist disillusionment with the promises of progress and modernity.

Fragmented Identity: Jimmy's identity is fragmented between his working-class roots and aspirations for intellectual and social advancement. This internal conflict mirrors Modernist themes of identity crisis and the disintegration of traditional social hierarchies.

Synthesis and Conclusion:

In "Look Back in Anger," Jimmy Porter embodies a complex synthesis of Romantic and Modernist conceptions of character. His passionate individualism, emotional intensity, and rebellious spirit align with Romantic ideals of personal authenticity and social critique. Simultaneously, his psychological depth, inner turmoil, and fragmented identity reflect Modernist themes of alienation, existential angst, and disillusionment with societal norms. Through Jimmy Porter, Osborne creates a protagonist who challenges both Romantic and Modernist ideals, embodying the contradictions and complexities of post-war British society while leaving a lasting impact on the portrayal of characters in modern drama.



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