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dead metaphor

By vbeck Feb 17, 2014 487 Words
Dead Metaphor
In his most recent play, Dead Metaphor, George Walker uses strong character development to strengthen his claim that the internal struggles of each character affect society’s balance of good and bad. Dean, the main character, recently returned from the war, where he served as an army sniper, in order to start a family; however, he is having problems finding a job due to his background with the army. He is soon faced with a difficult decision when three people in his life ask him to commit murder including his own father who asks Dean to kill him after a tumor is discovered in his brain. The social worker, Oliver, who finally finds him a job also hires him to kill his wife, a very conservative and powerful politician who in turn hires Dean to kill Oliver. Although he is just trying to support his family and lead a successful business life, his military past continuously catches up with him. Walker works carefully to incorporate an internal balance of good and bad into each of his characters which is especially apparent in Dean when he debates which of the three previously mentioned people to kill. His father asks Dean to kill him showing an insensitivity toward Dean’s emotions and needs but he asks him to do it because he thinks it will cause Dean’s mother less pain if he dies a quick death rather than a long drawn out one. Oliver says he wants his wife Helen dead for the good of the country but is still the first to suggest death a solution to his problem. Helen on the other hand, is so focussed on her reelection that she willingly hires Dean to kill her husband and crippled daughter just to cover up the tracks of a few illegal campaign contributions while still listening closely to the opinions of her fellow party members and voters. Each character must determine for themselves which actions to take and what the consequences of those actions could be. Dean has to consider each of these things before making his choice which helps strengthen Walker’s point that every person within society has a balance of good and bad making it hard for decisions to be black and white, wrong and right. Even Dean is forced to choose where his military ends and murder begins. Since the ending is left open and it is not actually known who Dean shoots, it lets the viewer think about the benefits and consequences about each choice he could have made. According to ACT actor Liam Vincent, George Walker intended to create a play where each audience member would leave the theater thinking a specific character had been shot, but not every audience member would think it was the same character. This helped to keep the play “absurd, honestly funny, and surprising in all the right ways” according to SFist.com.

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