From the author of Death and the Maiden. A Man and a Woman in purgatory — a soul-less white room. Each is interrogated in turn by the other. Each is groping for forgiveness and contrition. But one of them has done something unforgiveable An earlier version was first performed in a rehearsed reading at the Criterion Theatre, London, in November
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Some literary and historical background enhances the enjoyment of Ariel Dorfman's play Purgatorio. In some sense, Dorfman has implanted Jason of the Argonauts and Medea in a story reminiscent of part of Dante' Purgatorio and a place resembling a penitentiary, a sanitarium, or the afterlife. Dante's Divine Comedy. The New World. However, the analogy is imprecise. Dante's epic poem The Divine Comedy or Comedia is widely considered the greatest epic poem of the Middle Ages and one of the most influential fictional works in recorded Western History.
It was also the first major work in Italian versus the traditional Latin of Rome. Although grounded in religion and a fictional work, Dante made concrete reference to contemporary political and religious figures as well as historical and fictional figures from the past.
Here is a rough outline of the journey and the afterlife envisioned by Dante in The Divine Comedy. In Upper Hell were the first six inner circles. The first five made up the Sins of the Appetites: 1-limbo, 2-lustful, 3-gluttonous, 4-hoarders, 5-wrathful.
The two levels here were: 6-heretics, 7-violence. At the very bottom of Hell at the Center of the Earth resided the Devil trapped in the ice of the River Cocytus frozen by the beating of Lucifer's wings. In this complicated classification of sin, sins of incontinence were those of passions that could not be contained while sins of malice involved intellect or a perversion of reason for the purpose of injuring others.
The journey through Purgatorio begins in Ante-Purgatory. On the 1st terrace of Ante-Purgatory were last minute repenters who waited 30 years for each earthly year before entering Purgatory.
On the 2nd terrace they waited their own lifetime. There Dante and Virgil found 1 the indolent who postponed confession until just before death, 2 the unshriven-the ones who died a violent death who did not have chance to repent, and 3 the preoccupied who were too busy with wordly affairs.
Those journeying through Purgatory proper proceeded through stages of confession, contrition, and satisfaction. Souls in Purgatory were guaranteed a place in Heaven. For example, it is where the slothful were driven to constant motion and the envious had their eyes sewn shut. As with the Inferno, Purgatorio had a hierarchy. At the shores of Purgatory, Dante met the excommunicated and the late repentant: the apathetic, the unabsolved from violent death, and the negligent.
On his journey through Purgatory upward to Paradise, Dante encountered those guilty of committing the seven mortal or deadly sins: the proud, the envious, the angry, the slothful, the avaricious, the gluttonous, and the sexually promiscuous.
After meeting with the Angel Chastity and passing through flames, Dante left Virgil behind and was reunited with Beatrice in the Garden of Eden. Dante himself fell in love with Beatrice early in life. Both he and Beatrice married others. However, she was the subject of his poetry until her death in her 20's. Dante was plagued by grief over her death thereafter and remained an inspiration for his literary works. The first seven levels were: faith blemished by inconstancy, hope marred by ambition, love spoiled by lust, wisdom, courage, justice, and moderation.
Eighth heaven included faith, hope, and love. At ninth heaven, time, space, and nature begin. Ninth heaven is beyond space, time, and matter. The myth of Jason and Medea more or less originates with Euripides' Medea but is probably most familiar to present day Americans through the innovative 's special effects film Jason and the Argonauts. Jason sailed on a very long, arduous, and time-consuming voyage from Thessaly in Ancient Greece to Colchis to obtain the Golden Fleece to ensure prosperity for Greece.
At Colchis he met the priestess and sorceress Medea who betrayed her people to help him steal the Golden Fleece from Colchis. She bore Jason two children. Upon their return to Greece, Jason became betrothed to a Greek princess. As revenge, Medea murdered their children. In the 's the Quakers of Pennsylvania introduced the concept of a penitentiary. It was a place where the guilty would meditate upon their crimes in solitude and eventually repent their sins.
This contrasted with other punishment approaches involving physical labor or abuse. The penitentiary idea spread throughout the country and the world but eventually became deplored since its emphasis on solitude seemed to provoke mental illness. In the Roman Catholic Church the Apostolic Penitentiary is not a prison but a a tribunal concerned with the forgiveness of sins.
A s a Chilean writer, Ariel Dorfman is understandably obsessed with revenge and forgiveness. Having dealt with those questions in blisteringly realistic terms in Death and the Maiden, he now explores them expressionistically in Purgatorio. But while the result displays Dorfman's formidable dramatic intelligence, I was left pining for more circumstantial detail. The setting is a stark, white room occupied by two characters, simply called Man and Woman.
In writing the play, Dorfman asked himself, "What is the worst thing a woman can do to a man, and a man to a woman? In just three scenes, Dorfman delivers a ferocious battle of wills that careens from the personal to the political landscape but names no clear victor. Are some crimes too horrific to be forgiven? And what if the person you've damaged most on this earth is the only one who can save you?
Some literary and historical background enhances the enjoyment of Ariel Dorfman's play Purgatorio. In some sense, Dorfman has implanted Jason of the Argonauts and Medea in a story reminiscent of part of Dante' Purgatorio and a place resembling a penitentiary, a sanitarium, or the afterlife. Dante's Divine Comedy. The New World. However, the analogy is imprecise. Dante's epic poem The Divine Comedy or Comedia is widely considered the greatest epic poem of the Middle Ages and one of the most influential fictional works in recorded Western History. It was also the first major work in Italian versus the traditional Latin of Rome.