Free Theme: "Masquerade"; Playing Roles, Essay Sample
Costuming (for Wannus’- The King is the King)
Introduction/ Summary of the Plot of -The King is the King
Analysis of the fundamental drama elements of the King is the King play for the purpose of the following academic exercise considers specifics connected with the theme of “masquerade” as linked to the roles played by the characters created by Wannus. In doing so the story of the play criticizing Arab cultural deference to power therefore takes place around the story of a henpecked beggar husband – Abu ‘IZZA - accidentally winding up sitting on an Arab throne. This occurs when the real King bored and wanting amusement tricks Abu ‘Izza when in a drunken stupor takes the beggar to the palace and places him on the throne and somehow convinces him he is indeed the king. In effect, Abu ‘Izza readily assumes this new position with surprising ease and is the basis of the author’s message of how one who wears a crown denotes authority – the masquerade – among the Arab populace no matter the source or worthiness of this authority. This is so much so not even the queen seems to worry about the change. Throughout the different scenes and actions nonetheless, the end still finds Abu ‘Izza still wearing the crown and recognized as the King. Throughout the play each character symbolizes an exaggerated social difference through the descriptions of the specific attired costuming Wannus indicates in this message of the nature of humans and the abuse of authority.
Close analysis of this play shows the author’s use of framing and distancing techniques for presenting this masquerade of the Kingship. It is also clearly apparent through the dialogue the author constructs that exaggerated dramatic behavior of the actors assures the message of the abuse of authority intended by the author as each character plays his or her role. Throughout the play the representation of Arab culture remains apparent by the roles the chara cters themselves play as wife, peasant, servant, daughter, and king.
Use of the Folktale Depicting the Government
Wannus introduction of what reveals as improvisation in his story telling and direct conversation engaging the audience appears an attempt keeping interaction lively with this contact with the audience. By making use of the folktale depicting the government the author impressively provides granting his audience the opportunity for making safely making moral judgments as well as publicly taking positions on the issues of misguided support of authority for the sake of authority he intended as the message in his play. By costuming, by parodying the players even as puppets in distinct costumes the technique allowed the audience a means for seeing his truth within the game he created. The dialogue reminds the audience it is a game even to the actors as they speak as much. With the participation of the audience they become critical as they evaluate the discourse they listen and engage with the performance.
Characters Related to the Theme
Ubayad and Zahid representing the leadership of this masquerade game of switching the king for a fool by placing a crown upon his head conclude and decide the meaning of the actions of the different characters within each of the five scenes and their parts. This connects to the nature and the abuse that leads to the actions of those in authority. It is within the play’s following dialogue that the theme of the masquerade reveals itself further
'UBAYD He put on the gown, and then he was King. That's quite a normal, natural transformation. ZAHID In any regime of masquerade, / This is the rule you should postulate: / Give me gown and crown, / And a King, you will have.
ZAHID It isn't a matter of dream and reality. The whole story is that the gown has changed its stuffing. Details may differ, but not the essence. (And)
ZAHID and 'UBAYD (Together): The Royal Rule is: details may differ, but not the essence. This is the rule, wherever kings rule (Wannus Fourth Interlude)
This dialogue greatly represents the message of the author that authority for too many people sits within the “disguise” of a robe and a crown and that leaders masquerade themselves as righteous and worthy merely by the position they hold and not according to their actual deeds so that the symbolism of the crown and robe of authority holds their position.
The Representation of Theme in the Ending
The end of the story where Umm ‘Izza and ‘Izzs – wife and daughter of the fool now King does not recognize him and he does not recognize them. As a king abusing his authority he sells his family (and figuratively himself) into slavery. The masquerade game led by the real king has led the message of the author in duping everyone into believing the fool the king because of his crown and scepter.
In the above analysis of the dramatic elements of the King is the King play discussion connected with the theme of “masquerade” as linked to the roles played by the characters created by Wannus in this play criticizing Arab cultural deference as symbolized around the story of a henpecked beggar husband – Abu ‘IZZA. This masquerade played by specific characters allows the author’s message through a folktale engaging the audience having critical thought about the activities of the actors in regard to the limitations the ruler allows the people in having a quality life. The exaggerations of each of the specifically costumed characters and their dialogue in the play makes the audience understand this is but a masquerade and a story about leadership in an imaginary setting but with actual undertones of misuse of power and how people allow this for the sake of the symbols of power.
Wannus, Sa’dallah. The King is the King (Al-Malik huwa ‘l-Malik). From Modern Arabic
Drama: An Anthology © 1995 Indiana University Press 1995 Web
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