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Bury The Dead Dichotomy

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The cultural clash of ideologies is not only horizontal. The conflict in America also reaches vertically, similarly to the situation in Bury the Dead. In clarification, the goals of the mass population is unaligned with the goals of, to use a Victorian concept, the ruling class. In Shaw’s Bury the Dead, the Generals are human representations of this ruling class. They display the apathy, ignorance, recklessness and equal hopelessness in the face of war that an anti-war writer would testify is fundamentally characteristic, at least from the view of the mass population. The risen soldiers, just as most Americans would agree, find their achievement in fulfilling personal dreams and enjoying life. The dichotomy of this relationship is the main theme upon what Irwin Shaw builds Bury the Dead on. The final third of Shaw’s agitprop is devoted to diving into these lost ambitions of the dead soldiers. This is possibly the most disturbing portion of the play as the reader begins to realize the human nature of these corpses and the pressures that put them in the grave. It also shows the passive cruelty of the living towards the dead. The victims can never be understood by the non-victimized. This resonates with modern America in a specific way. While Americans have become interconnected by way of the internet and social media, our representatives and government leaders remain distant, and on the backdrop of hyperconnectivity, this only broadens the distance. The polarization of the American…show more content…
On the topic of theatrical devices used in Bury the Dead, Shaw uses namely expressionism, sardonic wit and dark comedy to stress the anti-war tone and the dichotomy of agendas. It is necessary to convey all three of these facets in a stage production to accurately display Shaw’s tone. The Encyclopaedia Britannica describes expressionism
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