Paradise Lost: A Play in Three Acts

Paradise Lost: A Play in Three Acts

Paradise Lost: A Play in Three Acts

Paradise Lost: A Play in Three Acts

Excerpt

The theme of Paradise Lost is "the decay of the middle class." To say this, however, is to say little, since so many plays produced nowadays are related to it in subject matter. But most of the latter plays are reflections or symptoms of the decay rather than creative works.

To make this clear we must state what is meant when we speak of middle-class "decay." The two most striking facets of the middle-class situation today are: first, the economic insecurity that deprives it of its former prestige as the bulwark of civilization, and inspires it with a fear of becoming reduced to a social class to which it has always considered itself superior; second, an awareness has grown upon the middle class that most of the ideas by which it has lived no longer correspond to the reality around it. The sensitive person of middle-class background becomes uneasy with a sense of "something wrong," a bewildering perception that everything he intimately believes is being denied by the actual conditions of contemporary society. When he wishes to find corroboration for his ideals he must either turn to the prophecies of unfulfilled dreamers of a past epoch or to the lying commonplaces to be found in such . . .

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