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The Existential Demystification of Worship toward the Other in Peter Shaffer’s Trilogy

  • 인문논총
  • 2017, 42(), pp.101-114
  • Publisher : Institute for Human studies, Kyungnam University
  • Research Area : Humanities > Other Humanities
  • Published : February 28, 2017

Kim Yeonman 1

1한밭대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

Many of the best-known plays written by Peter Shaffer (1926-2016) often deal with religion and faith in mythical and historical contexts. These themes culminate in the works known as his trilogy: The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1964), Equus (1973), and Amadeus (1980). In addition to the thematic similarity, they have other literary features in common. Structurally, all of these plays consist of two acts; also, they all elaborate on two contrastive characters─Pizarro and Atahuallpa in The Royal Hunt of the Sun, Dr. Dysart and Alan in Equus, and Salieri and Mozart in Amadeus respectively. The structural similarity of the plays is closely related to their thematic affinity. The first act of each play draws upon the meeting of a god figure, while the second act is mainly concerned about the death of the god. In Shaffer’s trilogy, therefore, the issue of worship toward the Other stands out among others. The three plays explore why one searches for an object of worship and how to worship it. In this sense, Shaffer’s trilogy can be read as a response to the existential and psychological inquiry into the nature of worship toward the Other.

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