Archiblad Macleish. "J.B." Macleish Blends Classical And Modern Theater To Conclude That, "Our Labor, Like Job's Labor, Is To Learn Through Suffering To Love...To Love Even That Which Lets Us Suffer.

912 words - 4 pages

Archibald Macleish, member of a group of writers dubbed the "Lost Generation," writers who relocated to Paris after World War 1. Full of youthful idealism, these individuals sought the meaning of life, and created some of the finest American literature to date. In general, Macleish was disappointed with the human race. Macleish looked down on man's inhumanity to man. It is important to understand the Macleish was not a playwright, he was a poet. He believed that the worlds problems must be made known and his vehicle for this was poetry. J.B. is written entirely in free verse. Macleish combines drama across the ages. He blends classical and modern theater to conclude that, "Our labor, like Job's labor, is to learn through suffering to love even that which lets us suffer." "We live in a world in which the innocent perish in vast meaningless massacres, and brutal dishonest men foul all the lovely things." In J.B., Nickels and Zuss act as the chorus in classical literature. They give background information about the other characters and inform the audience. When not acting as a chorus, they can be the "Satanmask or the Godmask." These characters act as God, and the "Father of lies." (14) When in, "mask," form, the two can indirectly characterize. Job is described as a ''A perfect and upright man, one that fearest God and escheweth evil!'' (24)During Job's suffering Zuss and Nickels observe: Zuss: He can't act, you know it. Nickels: He doesn't have to act, he suffers, it't and old role played like a mouth-organ.Nickels observes that the innocent have always suffered without cause. This also demonstrates the J.B as every man theory. By placing Zuss and Nickels in the work, Macleish executed the classical task of inserting a chorus into the frame story. In this play, like classical drama, the gruesome action is reported and seen in the audience's mind not on stage. "Big kid, maybe nineteen...bloodless, he could barely breathe...back of the lumber trucks besides the tract."(82) Zuss reports Job's suffering "Job has suffered and praised God." (95) Macleish also touches on man's inhumanity to man when describing a few reporters that would tell a mother her daughters had brutally died just to get a picture of her face. "All you do, you go up to them, you keep them talking, keep them looking." (63) Through blending classical and modern drama, Macleish...

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