Athol Fugard Essay

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Award winning playwright, Athol Fugard sources many of his dramas in his hometown Port Elizabeth. Conflict dominated the land of South Africa in the dark years when the National Party was in power. J. Bellies believe that a large proportion of Fugard’s writing is motivated by the anguish of apartheid South Africa and the political context in which they are written, yet nonetheless contain universal messages that extend their relevance beyond the politics of their generation. This belief exposes many intricate details regarding the works of Fugard yet captivates the purpose of his plays. Fugard writes his plays in a time of political uncertainty in South Africa and presents many problems which he believes are fundamentally detrimental to the State of the nation. Apartheid being much publicized around the world makes South Africa a pariah state. The laws that are being imposed upon South Africans of colour make for torrid living in the country, such as poverty, homelessness and superiority under National Party rule. Fugard depicts this in many of his plays namely Master Harold and the Boys and Boesman and Lena. The playwright does this by using key metaphors and central motifs throughout. In Boesman and Lena, Fugard explores the magnitudes that Apartheid poses both on a personal basis and its psychological effects. Fugard emphasizes isolation and loss of identity as a result of separate development. Under the oppression, Boesman and Lena feel that their lives are “empty as hell” and further believe that they are “not people anymore.” Lena longs for her existence and to be acknowledged and finds companionship through the dog and the old man because in them she sees “somebody to listen” to her. The pathetic fallacy of the ‘Swartkops’ mudflats where the play transpires, along with the cold weather alludes to not only the dark mood that pervades the country, but the mess of society at the time. The Apartheid system did enough to abuse people of colour both physically...
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