Damaged Goods: (Les Avaries), a Play in Three Acts

Damaged Goods: (Les Avaries), a Play in Three Acts

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Damaged Goods: (Les Avaries), a Play in Three Acts

Damaged Goods: (Les Avaries), a Play in Three Acts

Read FREE!

Excerpt

In a volume of plays by Brieux recently published, Mr. Bernard Shaw writes as follows of "Damaged Goods" (Les Avariés):

In this play Brieux took for his theme the diseases that are supposed to be the punishment of profligate men and women. It was a difficult and even dangerous enterprise, because it brought him up against that curious tribal survival, the Taboo. Taboo is not morality, not decency, not reason, justice, or anything agreeable; it is a traditionally inculcated convention that certain things must not be mentioned, with the inevitable result that under this strange protection of silence, they fall into hideous corruption and abuse, and go from bad to worse whilst those who know what is happening must look on, tonguetied, at the innocents playing unwarned on the edge of a hidden precipice, and being sacrificed to the Taboo in appalling numbers every day. Now the diseases dealt with in "Damaged Goods" are doubly taboo, because the sacrifices are ignorantly supposed to be the salutary penalties of misconduct. Not only must not the improper thing be mentioned, but the evil must not be remedied, because it is a just retribution and a wholesome deterrent. The last point may be dismissed by simply inquiring how a disease can possibly act as a deterrent when people are kept in ignorance of its existence. But the punishment theory is a hideous mistake. It might as well be contended that fires should not be put out because they are the just punishment of the in-

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