Social Responsibility of Theatre

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The hairy ape is a theater play by an American author and playwright, named “Eugene O'Neill.' The play was authored in 1922 and first presented in the theater in the same year. The author described the struggle of a laborer with the industrialist and the capitalist world, which instead of appreciating his services for the progress of the business and society, see him as a beast due to his physical appearance. The play is set in the first half of the twentieth century. The play may show the grim reality of the upper class of the society, who consider the laborers as the lower beings; however, it conveys the message that human beings should be treated as equal.

The play describes that the protagonist, yank works in the engine management of the ship. Due to working with coal all the time, he has black marks on his clothes, as well as face, hands, etc. he is very motivated about his work and generally an ambitious person, who wants to make progress in life. During his work, he is encountered with a girl of the upper class, who likes to do social work, however, calls him a filthy beast due to his appearance. The negative remark of the girl hits Yank very hard, as he was proud of doing his work with honesty and efficiency. He realizes that she has called him so just because her father is a wealthy man and she did not have to struggle to earn a living. He plans to get revenge on her, however, has to spend a month in prison due to disturbing her. He loses his job, as well as the position in the society. He comes across an ape and realizes that he is same as him and the society does not treat the poor laborers in any better way than animals. He wanders here and there, losing all the hope in society, as well as life (O'Neill, 2014).

The theater play depicts Social responsibility as intercultural competence and tries to create awareness of knowledge and values shared by a group in the way that it has shown that the society never gives the deserved respect and importance to the laborers. Thes4e are actually the people, who play an important role in the social construction and betterment of the society. They work hard to make the society progressive economically. Yet, only the upper class of the society gets the benefits, as well as respect in society (Carroll, 2008).

The theater play has depicted the importance of the laborers in the society, as well as highlighted their issues. It has shown that the laborer always has to face the oppression of the upper class of the society. Although, the upper class likes to do the charity work and the social work, however, that is also a source of degrading the poor, who are working hard, with honesty and integrity, yet the rich try to make them weak by attacking their self-respect. The theater play is shedding light on the role of the industrialists and the laborers of the early twentieth century, who had to struggle to get themselves approved by the society (Dalton, & Cosier,1982). It also depicts that the working class had no importance in the society. The play has tried to provide an insight about the different roles and values of the society towards the rich and poor classes of the society (B©nabou, & Tirole, 2010).

The theater play is an eye opener for the society in the way that it highlights the fact that the working class of the society, who are earning their living by sweat and blood are not given their due status in society, due to industrialization and capitalism. On the other hand, the rich are enjoying the benefits of life, for which the poor work hard. It is presenting the concept of social responsibility by making the society aware that they need to be fair and unbiased towards the different classes of the society and treat people according to their honesty and hard work and not according to their wealth and social status. 

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Social Responsibility Of Theatre. (2021, Mar 24). Retrieved July 19, 2024 , from

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