TheOccurrence of Death in Plays (Zoo Story, M.Butterfly, Purgatory, and Dutchman)
In this essay, I want to discuss some plays that have some similarities and differences about the occurrence of death. The first play is Zoo Story. In that play, there are two characters, Peter and Jerry. In the beginning of play, Peter did not interest at all to jerry’s conversation. Jerry always brings the idea of Zoo Story, what happened there, and he told the story of him, and the dog. The conflict occurred when jerry and Peter to fight over the bench. Then “With a rush he charges Peter and impales himself on the knife” (Zoo Story:13). The “death” happened because jerry’s character. Jerry makes the conflict and in the end, he killed himself through Peter.
In Dutchman by Amiri Baraka, the characters are Lula and Clay. Lula, thirty-year-old white woman met Clay, twenty-year-old Negro in the train. The similarity of Lula’s and jerry’s character is they started a chat in that play, and keep asking to other, and make the conflict happened. Lula started making conversation, then seduced Clay, and invited him for having sex after party. The conflict is when Lula mocked Clay. “She switches strategies and mocks Clay's Anglo-American speech, his college education and his three-button suit. She rides his being black and passive. She dances mockingly in an R&B style and tells Clay to join her and "do the nasty. Rub bellies" (Dutchman: scene II). Besides both character Jerry and Lula has similarity, but they also has a difference. In Zoo Story, Jerry kills himself through Peter, but in Dutchman, Lula kills Clay. “killed himself” also occurred in M.Butterfly.
In M.Butterfly,Gallimard interested to Song. Those characters created the story become ironic. Song camouflage himself being oriental woman who attracted Gallimard. In the end of play, Gallimard performed Seppuku by wear Kimono. He said; “Women willing to sacrifice themselves for the love of man. Even a man whose love is completely without worth,… Death with honor is better than life”(M.Buttterfly : ACT 3 Scene 3). In Zoo Story, Jerry kills himself in the zoo to create how the Zoo Story happened, but, in M.Butterfly, gallimard kills himself after he found out about Song who actually was a man and in the end, he declared himself being butterfly, whereas at first, Galiimmard mentioned that butterfly is Song. The Performance before ”death” is also showed in Purgatory.
Purgatory by Yeats is the play that told about Old man and the boy. The meaning of Purgatory is the anniversary of the old man’s wedding night/the night wherein he was begotten or A silhouette of a lonely young girl/the old man’s mother. In this play, the old man kills his father and his son for the soul of his mother. “Release my mother’s soul from its dream! Mankind can do no more. Appease The misery of living and remorse of the dead” (Purgatory:7). The old man still kills his son, and he said that twice murderer and all for nothing. The old man did that, because he won’t his son repeat what he done, so that the old man kills his son. In M.butterfly, Gallimard performed Seppuku for his dishonor life. The “death” in Purgatory has similarity with Dutchman. In these plays, the main character kills others. Lula kills Clay and the old man kills the boy.
Those four plays have similarity and differences build by characters, conflict and theme. The characters in Zoo Story and Dutchman build the relationship between characters and the conflict but the occurrence of death (conflict) is different. Dutchman has same conflict with purgatory. It is “Kill other character”. In M.Butterfly and Zoo Story also has same conflict, it is “kill himself”, and then the performance before “death” occurred in Purgatory and M.Butterfly with different goal (Purgatory : for other, and M.butterfly : for himself). The tool that used for “death” in four plays is same. It is a knife. In King Lear, the death of Cordelia by hung up, and in the Real Inspector Hound, the tool is a gun.
The occurrence of death is associated with body, because the death will happen if a thing (knife, gun, string) insisted to touch the body or there is something missing or gone of the body (soul). The occurrence of the death in those plays is important to create the conflict there. For example is the Zoo Story. In the beginning of the Zoo Story, the characters just having a chat, the story is simple but in the end, the death occurred when the characters have fought each other just for “the bench”.