Sunday, October 17, 2010

“Hatch inhabits a world which is as illusionary as that of the play rehearsed in Mrs. Rafi’s room.” Elaborate. (P.U.2008)

The play of Orpheus arranged by Mrs. Rafi is significant as it symbolically reflects Rose, Colin and Willy in the given situation. The play is also an attempt to show supremacy of art over life and it also reveals some of the absurdities of social and religious people; but it is based on illusions and the world inhabited by Hatch and presented in the play from Mrs. Rafi is illusionary. These two illusionary extremes; one in the real world and the other in dramatic arts presents utter madness on part of Hatch and Mrs. Rafi. The illusionary world of both Hatch and Mrs. Rafi’s Orpheus is the result of paranoia.

Bond shows madness and violence resulting from paranoia and illusions as one and the same thing in The Sea. Bond shows this message through the character of Hatch who is mad and is always paranoid by some alien attack and this madness of Hatch makes him violent when he attacks Colin’s dead body and cuts it into pieces. Therefore, madness leads to violence and violence to annihilation of the world. Thus, the world inhabited by Hatch is illusionary, fictional, and not based on facts.  What finally drives Hatch mad is not so much his sense of the unjust way that his society is organized, as the fact that he is forced to suppress his feelings about the real causes of these injustices -his aggression is directed not at Mrs. Rafi but at alternative scape­goats.  As a result, his views border on the fascist; although this is not made explicit in the play, in interview Bond has made the point very directly: ‘There is no doubt but that Hatch is a Hitleresque concept on my part.’ While Willy works steadily, towards a view of his world, that allows grounds for hope and opti­mism, Hatch’s inability to reach an intellectual understanding of his situation culminates in the futile intensity of his knifing of the corpse washed up on the beach. The significant point is that all this results from the illusionary world inhabited by Hatch. The same is the situation with Mrs. Rafi’s Orpheus; the arranged by her in her room in which a dark and illusionary world is presented.
In scene, four Bond switches back from the beach to the unnatu­ral climate of the town. With imperious authority, Mrs. Rafi pres­ides over an event which — characteristically - represents a triumph of art over life - the rehearsal of a play on the subject of Orpheus and Eurydice, to be given by her group of local ladies in aid of the Coastguard Fund. The irony that this play within a play is on a theme which, according to one critic, contains strong cor­respondences with the remainder of the play (one only needs to substitute Colin, Rose, and Willy for Orpheus, Eurydice and Pluto) cannot be completely ignored. But thematic ironies of this kind are infinitely less important than what Bond shows in direct stage terms — the juxtaposition of Willy and Rose (the dead man’s fiancee) with the arid inanities of the rehearsal.

The rehearsal scene is one of two comic highlights in The Sea. It is a wicked parody of the worst kind of village hall amateur theatri­cals. By the standards of, say, Early Morning, the comic effects are quite conventional- the scene is structured on one basic comic principle: the idea of constant interruption. As Mrs. Rafi struggles to inspire her cast, she is frustrated by a combination of external circumstance and individual recalcitrance. Mrs. Tilehouse questions the appropriateness of Mrs. Rafi’s star turn- a solo ren­dering of ‘There’s No Place Like Home’. Therefore, the world in Mrs. Rafi’s plays is also illusionary; like Hatch, she is also seeking refuge into her own self-created world of illusions. Like Hatch who is afraid of foreign invasions, she is escapist and paranoid by her old age creeping and eclipsing her personality, the revitalization of which, she wants to see in the art. Again, the illusionary world of Mrs. Rafi and Hatch is evident as the same in nature but different in medium of expression.

It is Hatch and Mrs. Rafi who have harbored some unknown fears in their minds, which constantly torture their soul and mind. Obviously, there is no world for such people. The world is built for the sane people like Rose and Willy. That is why, Hatch is shunned and Mrs. Rafi frowned upon by all.  Hatch appears in six of the eight scenes; the prominence Bond gives to this character underlines the importance he attaches to keeping Hatch’s failure to cope with the social pressures exerted on him constantly in the audience’s mind. There is no call for him to be involved in scene five (the rehearsal of the play Mrs. Rafi and her ladies are putting on), but far more telling is his exclusion from the last scene; clearly, he can have no part in the rational delibera­tions between Willy and Evens about the state of the world and Willy’s best course of action.

In Short, Bond ends on a question mark here because Willy must now reconcile the advice given to him by the old hermit, Evens, with what he has seen in the conduct of Mrs. Rafi and Hatch. Mrs. Rafi’s Orpheus drama - a play within a play - is fraught with more problems than Prospero encounters in presenting his masque for the benefit of the young lovers, whilst Mrs. Rafi’s attempt to stage-manage Colin’s funeral misfires as spectacularly as Prospero’s wedding celebra­tion. It is Evens, the wise old seer -- quoting from the Chinese poet Li Po - imparting his knowledge to Willy who more completely fulfils the function of the magus Prospero. In the final scene of the play he obliges Willy to observe the condition of the world with such a depth of rational analysis that the young man is encouraged to build on the founda­tions of his philosophical propositions. This also reflects back on that the world of Mrs. Rafi and Hatch is illusionary and escapist as contrast to the actual worlds possessed by Evens, Willy and Rose. 

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