본문 바로가기
  • Home

The Politics and Dramatic Expression in Tom Stoppard’s Eastern Bloc Plays

  • Journal of Modern English Drama
  • Abbr : JMBARD
  • 2012, 25(3), pp.25-51
  • Publisher : 한국현대영미드라마학회
  • Research Area : Humanities > English Language and Literature > English Literature > Contemporary English Drama

Hye-Gyong Kwon 1

1동서대학교

Accredited

ABSTRACT

In the latter part of the 1970s, Stoppard publishes a series of works which deal with the political situation and human rights repression in the Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc countries. These works are the results of his experience with the reality of communist countries. The purpose of this article is to analyze how Stoppard’s recognition of the political situation in Eastern Europe is reflected in Every Good Boy Deserves Favour and Professional Foul and how the themes are expressed and embodied in each work. Subtitled “A Play for Actors and Orchestra,” Every Good Boy Deserves Favour consists of drama and music, which means it must be experienced and not merely read in order to be truly appreciated. Stoppard’s meeting with Russian exile Victor Fainberg in April, 1976 proved to be the most crucial event in this play’s creation. Fainberg, who had been imprisoned in Soviet mental hospitals and was attempting to publicize the plight of other dissidents, gave Stoppard “a hero and a political target” for his plays. As he said in an interview concerning this play, “the dissident is a discordant note in a highly orchestrated society.” The orchestra, a musical factor, stands in contrast to the dissidents, political factors. Through Alexander, the main character, Stoppard reports the appalling conditions of Soviet dissidents, as well as expressing the importance of moral values and moral action. Professional Foul, which Stoppard wrote to mark Amnesty International’s ‘Prisoner of Conscience Year,’ was first transmitted by BBC TV in September 1977. Anderson, a Cambridge professor of ethics, attends a philosophy colloquium in Prague, where he meets Pavel Hollar, a former student. This play shows Anderson moving from a disengaged moral philosopher to one who acts upon moral values. It might be inferred that Anderson’s change reflects Stoppard’s own change of view. Having kept aloof from the harsher aspects of life since his debut as playwright, he became a politically active playwright after experiencing the reality of Eastern European countries in the latter part of the 1970s. In this play, he makes use of cross-cutting camera technique to create a tenser and more urgent sense of Czechoslovakia under communist control. Every Good Boy Deserves Favour and Professional Foul, even though not among Stoppard’s major plays, include some of his more innovative and effective writing and even mark “a new, more mature Stoppard.”

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.