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BEGE-142: Understanding Drama

BEGE-142: Understanding Drama

IGNOU Solved Assignment Solution for 2021-22

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Assignment Code: BEGE-142/2021-22

Course Code: BEGE-142

Assignment Name: Understanding Drama

Year: 2021-2022

Verification Status: Verified by Professor


Max. Marks: 100

Answer all questions.


Section A


Write short notes on the following in about 200 words each. (2x5=10)


a. Tragedy

Ans) Aristotle described tragedy as "the replication of a serious and also as having magnitude, complete in itself" through poetic language and dramatic rather than narrative presentation, involving "incidents inciting pity and fear wherewith to achieve the catharsis of such feeling."


Tragedy has no one-size-fits-all solution: people suffer as a result of their own choices. The tragic hero appears to suffer at times merely because he or she lives in an unjust and terrible universe. Despite the fact that the causes of suffering vary, the aim of suffering appears to be virtually universally recognised: only through suffering can a person achieve wisdom. The plays follow a tragic pattern of aim, passion, and vision, according to Francis Fergusson.


Tragedy pulls a person to the edge of existence, forcing them to live or die by their convictions. When a person is nearing the end of his or her life, he or she swiftly identifies the most important values in life. Men and women who are dissatisfied with the hand fate has dealt them fight the rules of the game in tragedy. Man is not shown in tragedy as a hapless puppet dancing to the strings of fate. The sad vision does not guarantee that man will perish in the end. Instead, it investigates how free will manifests itself in the world. The decision to act rather than surrender frequently has devastating consequences, but it also puts humanity to the test.


b. Epic Theatre

Ans) The phrase epic theatre was coined in Germany in the 1920s and became synonymous with Bertolt Brecht's name. It cuts across customary boundaries. It is objective to tell epic stories. The origins of epic theatre are linked to German experimentation in using theatre as a tool for political instruction. Dramatic theatre involved the audience and stirred their emotions by enacting plots. Epic theatre recounts a storey in such a way that the audience is encouraged to think about and evaluate the happenings. In the form of the play, changes had to be made. If the dramatic play was a closed system of underdevelopment scenes with a plot so structured that the audience was kept guessing until the end, the epic play was a montage of independent incidents depicting a process that moved from scene to scene by curves and jumps that kept the audience alert to judge what was right.


Brecht linked his plays to scientific experiments on occasion, and he believed that change for the better was at the heart of his thought. Brecht was an outspoken opponent of the idea that human nature was predetermined and that man's actions were dictated by his own thoughts. Man's thought in epic theatre is conditioned by his social situation, which will alter if that situation changes. He is a force for societal transformation. A fantastic example of an epic drama is Mother Courage and Her Children. Brecht wanted to disrupt the audience's sympathies and the actor's affinity with his role by using a detached narrator and other tactics to generate alienation effects. He sought to inspire his listeners to criticise and reject the current social situation. Behind the curtain, the theatre of illusion has always carefully concealed equipment. Brecht's stage was plain grey, with minimal scenery and props. Every scene was lit with bright white light. The songs encourage the players to leave their roles and speak directly to the audience. Brecht was a firm believer in the reality's texture.



Section B


Answer the following reference to the context in about 300 words each: (3x10=30)


a) “You are a woman’s son? I have a mind to wring your neck. Running about and fighting like that when screeners and army jeeps are all over Nyeri”

Ans) He gets startled by an unexpected noise from somewhere close and flees quickly. The wife is also able to flee. On the stage, two African troops appear. Their dialogue informs readers about the current sociopolitical environment while also providing a glimpse into the history in relation to Kimathi and the 'Mau Mau.' After the troops have left, the woman emerges from her hiding place, pondering a remark made by one of the soldiers. She re-wraps her bread, vows to 'find the fruit seller immediately,' and is about to go when a young man arrives, following a girl. He apprehends her, stomps on her, and demands his money. When the wife notices this, she chastises him for mistreating a girl.


She berates him for continuing to quarrel with the girl and blaming her for allowing the girl out of his clutches: " "Are you the son of a woman? I'm considering wringing your neck. When screeners and army jeeps are strewn over Nyeri, it's no wonder people are running about and fighting like this. What happened to your heart? You can't see that you're large enough, can you? That you could be whisked away to Manyani with ease? What exactly has she done?"


She goes on to ask him about himself and the girl. The boy 'involuntarily proceeds to narrate his narrative after a brief pause during which he intently observes the woman: "You see, it happened in Nairobi. She and I, as well as other guys and girls, used to hang around on the streets...

We rummaged through every trash can from Kariobangi to Grogan Road. But we usually hung out in major hotels like the New Stanley, Norfolk, and Grosvenor. There were a lot of settlers and tourists, so we carried their luggage. We'd pretend to be paralysed, blind, and deaf at times. They'd give us money - some as much as ten siblings' worth! We were frequently pursued by the police, but we always managed to escape. Somehow." He then goes on to describe how she - the female - had ran away one day without paying him his half of the money earned by carrying the luggage of a fat American. 'By chance, I saw her today.' The woman is moved by the boy's narrative and gives him twenty shillings to go eat something and bring her back the change.


b) “For me! I was dying every day and you were killing my boys and you did it for me? What the hell do you think I was thinking of the god dam business?..........”

Ans) The battle has influenced Chris's larger view of humanity. He admits in his earlier conversation with Ann that he feels it draining from him. All My Sons is a heartbreaking coming-of-age narrative for Chris in several aspects. Of all, Chris' outraged comments and pathetic attempt to physically attack his father demonstrate his idealist and patriotism. But he forgets that if he deems something honourable, it is because of his father's education. Keller's actions, however, cannot be justified on this basis.


Keller believes that money prosperity alone will not bring him his son's love, and that their bond is the most important thing in his life. "I'm his father, and he's my son, and if there's anything bigger than that, I'll put a pullet in my head!" he tells his wife. Finally, he discovers that there is more to the father-son bond than meets the eye. He also believes Chris is not the sort to overlook a man's wrongdoings simply because he is his father. As a result, Keller ends up shooting himself in the head.


Keller's choice to commit suicide was not made on the spur of the moment. As previously said, if he feels something more than a father-son relationship, he will kill himself by shooting himself in the head. But what makes him believe there’s ‘something greater' going on? Chris's remarks slam into him like a hammer blow, forcing him to acknowledge that there is more to life than family ties. Keller makes one last try to persuade his son before the catastrophic end in the last scene. "If it's dirty, burn it," he advises Chris, believing that Chris despises not him, but the money he got through unlawful means. That is not my money; it is yours.... He also claims that he was not the only one who profited illegally throughout the war. "I realise you're no worse than other men, but I thought you were better," Chris says emphatically in response to this assertion. I've never thought of you as a man. I recognised you as my father."


These are the phrases that make a Keller understand the true scope of his father's obligations. A parent should save not only money wealth for his children, but also a morally solid image of himself. This is the only way for a father's children to show him true love and respect. Keller has failed as a father to project a strong image of himself, despite his accomplishment in acquiring fortune for his kid. As a result, he tries to build it in his death.


c) “But every other year you’ve tried to free yourself by looking around for another man! In the beginning I was one of these men. You say you respected me then.

Ans) Juneja said the above in the lengthy talks and repeated accusations between Savitri and him, while Binni is the silent observer; she has the same relationship to the other two characters as the reader/spectator does to all of them. Savitri initially requests that Binni listen to the entire conversation, but she subsequently asks Binni to leave after Juneja insists on hearing the other side of the tale.


At this point in the text, there are a number of questions that arise. Juneja's knowledge of Savitri is astounding. He is Mahendranath's friend, not Savitri's. Juneja had obviously received these data from Mahendranath. Juneja's appraisal of Savitri and her associates has also been impacted by Mahendranath's thoughts on the subject. In this respect, the above-quoted sentences allude to a husband's and his male friend's prejudice. Savitri's offence, according to them, is just mingling with other males. Savitri, like any other person, is going to meet new people, develop new friends, and make observations on other people's behaviour. She is well aware of her failed marriage, so it's only normal that she fantasises about a happy existence with another man. Why is it necessary for Savitri to be happy with her husband?


Juneja is aware of the events in Savitri's life and is certain that Savitri attempted to seduce Manoj. The daughter, on the other hand, was chosen by the latter. Binni shows her surprise at this discovery, which has a disgusting first impact on Savitri. Instead, a closer examination reveals that Savitri has not responded to the situation, which lends validity to Juneja's thesis. Why is there no justification given to Savitri for this? Juneja also states that "you were in a frenzy" after "Binni went away with Manoj." Juneja's reply, delivered with authority, sums up her entire life. He's arrogant enough to claim to know what transpired between Savitri and Jagmohan while they were out for tea.



Section C


Answer the following questions in about 800 words each: (3x20=60)


Q1. Comment on the broad movements in the structure of The Trial of Dedan Kimathi.


First Movement

The first movement of the play declares that "darkness rules." Distant drums begin to grow louder and louder until they reach a furious, passionate, and intense climax, enveloping the entire stage and auditorium with their rhythm. ' A multitude of peasants may be heard singing with the e. According to the writers, the peasant voices should mix "violence with strength." The Swahili song appears to be a song of independence. At the same time, a gunshot can be heard. After 'whiplashes are heard falling on human skins,' there are groans and screams. As the Black Man's History unfolds on the stage, sad music takes over.'


The four parts are explained, each representing a turning point in African history: the first phase depicts slave-traders duping black African chiefs; the second phase depicts "a chain of weary slaves, hooked onto one another.. paddle a boat across the stage, under hard lashing." The third phase depicts "a black labour force toiling on a plantation under the direction of a harsh, brutal fellow black overseer," while the fourth depicts "an indignant parade of resolute blacks, singing anti-imperialist slogans through songs and thundering cries." The importance of the directions as well as the enactment of the Black Man's History is to not only provide the audience with the socio-political backdrop of whatever has happened to Africa and Africans over the last few hundred years, but also to make them aware that whatever is to come is a part of the same history and that the struggle of Blacks from Africa to America is a continuum.


When the scene is lit properly, the scene transforms. A woman can be seen crossing the stage. She is between the ages of 30 and 40, mature, slightly built, and attractive, with a youthful face. The woman, despite appearing to be a simple peasant, is clearly worldly and sensitive of behaviour and society. Her behaviours are under control the entire time, and her body and mind are completely aware. She was bold, walking straight into the mouth of a rifle handled by a white soldier, Johnnie. He asks for her 'passbook,' to which she responds, 'women, they don't carry passi,' after which he seductively stares her and begins to flirt with her.


The piece also emphasises the prevalence of paranoia among white people. When this mother goes to the store to buy fruits for her starving children, she is confronted by a bully. For money, a boy pursues a girl. She overhears Boy's account and observes that it happened to all Kenyans as a result of the oppressors, i.e. "The Britishers." She then learned of Dedan Kimathi, who had been kidnapped by the colonial authorities. She also learned that he is battling for his own land, and she promised that the people's soil will be restored. Our land will be genuinely ours one day. Finally, the first movement concludes with the Boy recalling the lady's comments.


Second Movement

The second scene takes place outside the court, where a large throng has assembled. "Whites enter the court, women fanning their faces and dressed as if for a display." Men strut in, their pistols slung about their waists. They occupy one half of the court." The prisoner, Dedan Kimathi, is "brought in under heavy guard, with chains on his feet and chains on his hands," after Shaw Henderson dressed as a judge enters. Waiting, accompanied by First and Second soldiers, pushes him into the witness box."


The charges against him are subsequently read aloud by the judge. When Kimathi continues to remain mute, the judge issues a contempt of court warning and repeats the full charge. "By what rights dare you, a colonial judge, sit in judgement over me?" Kimathi doubts his right to try him. The judge tells him that he is accused of "an extremely serious offence that bears the death penalty." He began interrogating the colonial judge, and the ensuing squabble resulted in the judge adjourning the court until the next day. The action moves to the street, where the woman dressed as Fruit seller is seen selling oranges. After she has gone, the Boy, with the loaf of bread in his hand, comes looking for the Fruit seller, discovers the Girl, and goes after her demanding his money. The four trials are now moving forward.


Third Movement

The third movement begins with Dedan Kimathi's death. A Masai boy and girl approach the Warder, expressing their desire to visit the prisoner, Kimathi. "Wonders will never cease," the Warder says, startled. Masai? Kimathi? Who are you trying to fool? "Get out of here!" They say they'd like to greet him and present him with the loaf of bread they're carrying. He steals the bread from them after noticing that he has been hungry on duty. He's about to break it when an aeroplane flies overhead, and he dashes away, dumping the bread. When the Boy and Girl return with the bread, they run into the Woman, who is still costumed as a Fruit seller. They are taken aback when she discloses her true identity to them. Only when all of Kenya's people banded together could she be certain of triumph.


"Yesterday was a day of setbacks," she says later. She outlines the plan to save Kimathi and gives them the important responsibility of starting the shooting when Kimathi is brought to court. Suddenly, the girl loses interest and asks a simple question: "Who is Dedan Kimathi?" to which the Woman responds, "Leader of the Landless." "Leader of those who toil." Kimathi is seen interrogating the detainees about their names, regiments, places of origin in the United Kingdom, and their parents' backgrounds. "Truly, I'm olack," Kimathi says, turning to the K.A.R. soldier. Like you, you're black. Brother, please spare me. Here, he has to deal with a lot of adversity. Kimathi's death was even notified by the judge. "Kimathi s/o Wachiuri, you are sentenced to die, by nanging, You will be hanged by the rope till you are dead," he says as he walks out of the court. The Boy and Girls immediately stand up, break the bread, hold the gum, and say, "Not dead!"

Q2. Comment on the ending of Halfway House.

Ans) Through his friendship with Juneja, Mahendranath is shown to be on the lookout for a new identity and cause for his existence. The economic crisis and his loss of identity as the family's breadwinner had turned him into a non-entity, negatively affecting his mind and heart: "......quiet acquiescence, endless snubs, constant insults, is all that I deserve after so many years." He resents his loss of power and influence in the family and is enraged at being seen "just as a stamp of respectability to be used only when necessary." In the face of shifting power dynamics, Mahendranath looks for significance in new relationships based on mutual respect and understanding, as he does with Juneja. Juneja's companionship provided Mahendranath with an alternate sanctuary of consolation and comfort in the middle of the family's emotional and financial crises, as a result of Savitri's constant insults and accusations and their following effects in giving him an inferiority complex.


He began to define himself in terms of his in utility and failure and sought refuge in temporary acts of rebellion such as fleeing the house and finding purpose and mental serenity in Juneja's company. Furthermore, due to his lack of conviction and incapacity to make independent decisions, Mahendranath sought identity affirmation through psychological dependence on others and, in the early years of his marriage, patriarchal control and restriction of Savitri's autonomy. The fact that Mahendranath finally returns in the end, relying on his own judgement rather than Juneja's, proves the futility of his search and, once again, reinforces the play's Absurdist attitude.


To escape their squabbling parents' anxious lives, Ashok and Kinni investigate the complexities of identity on their own in their own universe. In an amorphous universe devoid of reality and need, Ashok seeks his identity in the realms of laziness, impulsivity, and passion. He quits his job at Air Freeze for no apparent reason and instead spends his time either doing nothing or wooing a female who works at the Udyog Centre. The daily hatred between his parents distorts his sense of 'home,' and as a result, he searches for meaning and identity in a world free of the pressures of family responsibilities and familial tensions. Even his conversation with Binni about the house's 'air' mirrors these views about the hunt for significance.


Kinni, the youngest character, strives for an identity via her developing adolescent sexuality and awareness of this sexuality, in the absence of a stable support system at home, both financially and emotionally. Kinni wanted to identify herself in terms of her rebelliousness, growing sexual knowledge, stubbornness, ill-mannerisms, and arrogance, given the emotional instability in her house and the sheer carelessness with which she was handled. Kinni attempting to exit when the door is closed from the inside and others attempting to enter when she locks the door from the inside is indicative of an useless search for identity and meaning in life, since even her disobedience and obstinacy fails to change the small girl's situation.


Binny, too, is shown to be on a never-ending and fluctuating search for a safe haven and a sense of self. She elopes with Manoj not out of a romantic whim, but because she was looking for a safe haven away from home where she could find serenity and security. When she encounters her husband's rigid conservatism and is unable to find meaning in Manoj's limited control over their conjugal relationship, she seeks answers in a defiant manner - "He likes my hair long, so I want to cut it." He doesn't like it while I work, so I'm looking for jobs." But this becomes useless as she realises she is unable to carry out her rebellious instincts in the face of her husband's subordination.


In the end, she just goes back to her maternal home in quest of the strange "something" in their house that is the "cause of all her problems" and refuses to leave her alone. Binni, on the other hand, is never shown unravelling this mystery 'reason,' demonstrating the silliness of the entire process of finding purpose in life.


However, when their search for meaning in life, as well as the resulting misery and suffering, is seen solely from an existential standpoint, it eliminates the prospect of ever addressing the root of the problem. Apart from being analysed as an Absurdist Theatre technique, all of the characters' quest for an identity outside of the home, for an alternate sanctuary, can also be seen in terms of the alienation that comes with urbanisation, the breakdown of joint family, and the new emerging power-plays and conflicts within the nuclear family with no viable support system outside. To sum up, while Mohan Rakesh's "Halfway House" deals extensively with the question of identity and meaning in life, placing it solely in an Existentialist context and assigning it the distinction of being the play's primary concern would unfairly downplay many other socio-economic themes that the play encompasses.


Q3. Evaluate the character of Chris Keller.

Ans) Chris had specific characteristics in the drama 'All My Son' that showed up in every interaction and attitude he had. His personality traits included lover, honesty, firmness, maturity, and an optimistic outlook.


Chris' main characteristic was, in fact, that of a lover. Because this show depicted a son who genuinely cared for his parents. Chris was surrounded by people he adored. When he went to obtain aspirin for his mother, Kate, or Mrs. Keller, when he shielded Annie from thinking badly about people on the neighbourhood who still talked about her father in jail, and when he refused to let George speak to Mr. Keller about the matter, he was a lover man. Chris Keller was a lovely man when he shielded Annie from resenting people on the neighbourhood who continued to talk about her father's incarceration. When Frank inquired about her father, Steve, Annie understood many others on the block recalled the case. Knowing this, Annie demanded an explanation from Chris, as well as an explanation as to why he had said nothing to her about it. Chris didn't tell Annie whether or not people on the block still talked about his father because he didn't want Annie to be worried and uncomfortable if she went to meet everyone on the block.


Chris Keller had genuine qualities that came through in some of the chats. He was the type of person who couldn't tell a lie. Chris Keller was truthful when he expressed his true feelings about Annie's father from the perspective of the people in the blocks, when he expressed everything he felt about his mother, who clung to Larry even after he died three years ago, and when he informed Annie about what made him ashamed. Chris Keller was truthful when he expressed his feelings about annies father from the perspective of the people on the block. If others on the block continued to talk about his father, who was still in prison, Annie became concerned. When she asked Chris about it, he gave her the truth, although Mr. and Mrs Keller tried to hide it and console her. He claimed that everyone would remember the case in which her father, Steve, was the murderer who killed 21 pilots during the war. Chris Keller was open and honest about how he felt about his mother, who clung to Larry even after he died three years ago.


Chris Keller's attribute of firmness, which featured sparingly in this drama and may be construed as stubbornness, was also one of Chris Keller's characteristics. Chris Keller was firm, but only when he believed something needed to be strengthened for. When Chris Keller told his father about his goal to marry Annie, when he pushed his father to bring his mother over her hope that Larry was still alive someplace, and when he told her mother about his intention to marry Annie, he became solid. When Chris Keller insisted on his father bringing his mother over to discuss her hope that Larry was still alive somewhere, he was firm. Chris believed they had made a huge error by allowing mum to continue believing Larry will return. Mother's belief grew stronger as a result, and she emphasised to everyone that Larry was simply missing. Chris told his father that they needed to discourage his mother from thinking that way because if she did, she would be much more heartbroken. Mr. Keller initially disagreed with Chris because he was stubborn.


Among Chris' other attributes was maturity. When he could let her brother Larry go who had died during the war, when he could calm her mother Mrs. Keller who had gone through to Larry again, and when he could accept the reality that his father was the one who was guilty in the case, he proved that he was mature. Chris Keller had reached adulthood when he was able to let her brother Larry, who had died in the war, go. Mrs. Keller found it difficult to let Larry go, but Chris and Mr. Keller did not. He was a mature man because, even after three years, he did not mourn Larry like his mother did. He'd be able to deal with it like a mature guy.


Chris was never prejudiced towards others around him because he was a positive thinker. Chris Keller was a positive thinker when he became enraged because his father said something hurtful to Annie and George, when Annie informed him that Sue despised him, and when his mother believed George would reopen the case and that Annie and her family despised them. When Chris Keller became enraged because his father said something hurtful to Annie and George, he was a positive thinker.


Mr. Keller felt weird when George, who was in Columbus, contacted Annie; he had a predisposition against Annie, believing that she and George had plotted something to expose the case of defective components. When Annie told Chris Keller that Sue despised him, he was a positive thinker. Chris was a fantastic maan. Chris has always assumed that everyone likes him because he has never been prejudiced towards anyone, particularly in his neighbourhood. As a result, he was taken aback when Annie, who had previously spoken with Sue, claimed that Sue despised him.

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