Essay on Athol Fugard’s The Blood Knot

Essay on Athol Fugard’s The Blood Knot

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In his work “The Dramatic Art of Athol Fugard,” Albert Wertheim discusses Athol Fugard’s creation of “the voice of inner truth, […] a voice with which we speak from the heart” (19). Wertheim mentions how Fugard’s The Blood Knot is the first of his works to implement such a voice. Cumbrously, The Blood Knot is such a dense piece of work that critics dispute over what exactly this voice articulates. Fugard forages through topics such as raciality, apartheid and white supremacy in South Africa, brotherhood and familial ties, and many other themes. For the purpose of this essay, the voice of inner truth speaks of the importance of self identity and the power associated with it. In The Blood Knot, Fugard creates a power struggle between Morris and Zachariah, in which Zachariah possesses dominance, to display through their characterization that power comes from assurance of one’s self, not from one’s external qualities.
Section 1: Brief discussion of the setting and power
Knowledge of the setting of the play is imperative to understanding the pressures and emphasis on race and skin color. The Blood Knot takes place in Korsten, Port Elizabeth, a non-white town in South Africa sometime in the mid-twentieth century (Fugard Scene 1). During this time in South Africa a phenomenon termed the apartheid played a major role in the state’s society. In his work “Some Problems of a Playwright from South Africa,” Athol Fugard describes the apartheid as, “the appalling scenario of oppression and injustice in my country,” (Fugard 382). The apartheid was a governmentally supported system of strict colonial, racial segregation that took place throughout the mid and later portion of the twentieth century until the late 1980s, wher...


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...Print. Russell Vandenbroucke explores Morris and Zachariah's brotherhood, especially focusing on characterization. He utilizes primary quotations from Fugard to support many of his claims. Vandenbroucke puts emphasis on the role-playing games the brothers play. This source provided support for my claim regarding Morris paying more attention to the power struggle than Zachariah does.


Wertheim, Albert. "The Port Elizabeth Plays: The Voice with Which We Speak from the Heart." The Dramatic Art of Athol Fugard: From South Africa to the World. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 2000. 17-32. Print. Albert Wertheim's book analyzes the dynamic of the brotherhood between Zachariah and Morris while he simultaneously comments on their characterization. From this source, I obtained excellent support for my claims and even utilized this to be a portion of the basis of my argument.

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