Research On "Almost An Evening" Essay

1852 words - 7 pages

5de la TorreFrancisco de la Torre AP English Lit Mr. Panzer 27 September 2014Research Paper on Almost an EveningWritten by the critically acclaimed Ethan Coen, Almost an Evening is a collection of three one-act plays. The first of these one-acts is titled "Waiting", which is about a character Nelson who eagerly awaits his chance to go to heaven. Nelson must wait, wait, and wait some more as various bureaucrats scratch out his fate. The second one-act, "Four Benches", is about a British spy who never reveals his identity but seems to despise the job that he has. The final act is called "Debate" which includes a debate between a God Who Judges and a God Who Loves. The theme of each of these one-acts is in keeping with many of Coen's other works: that hell is not so far off from actual life. hell, for Coen, "lurks right under the surface of, or just around the corner from everyday life." (Ben Brantely) The theme of each of these one-acts is in keeping with many of Coen's other works: that hell is not so far off from actual life.In the first one-act, "Waiting", hell is very much at the forefront of the setting. In fact, "Waiting" is the only one of the acts that mentions the supernatural world. Nelson is first informed that he must wait 822 years before he may enter the kingdom of heaven. Unfortunately, after some miscalculations on the part of the administration of purgatory, missing the shuttle to Heaven, and cursing, Nelson ends up spending upwards to one hundred thousands years in purgatory. Nelson soon finds out that the tormentors-in-chief are playing a cruel joke on him and that in actuality he is in hell and is never leaving. However, this hell is much different than the general concept of hell. This hell is more of a state of mind. (Andrew Adler) The hell in "Waiting" consists of a waiting room at a doctor's office or job interview rather than a fiery pit of doom. This is exactly what Coen wants his audience to see; that our reality is just above the concept of hell. In the world we live in the doctors, presidents, and CEO's control our lives. One's fate is already decided by a higher being. People are willing to spend large amounts of time - while attempting to make small talk with receptionists - to see what these men have to say about their futures. Coen is not the first writer to attempt to write about the underworld. In the 1991 film "Defending Your life" the main character Daniel moves onto an afterlife that resembles the present day United States. This Hell, with a capital H, is the same piece of real estate charted by Dante, but less intense (Paul Kubicki). In Dante's Inferno, Dante must travel through the seven circles of hell. Each of which is more gruesome and harsher than the last. Coen's version of hell bares the closest relationship to Dante's "Limbo". The contrast between Coen's and Dante's hell could be due to the fact that in the Old Testament God was a much more strict and powerful God which left little room for...

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