Best Reaction to Violence

Powerful Essays
Best Reaction to Violence

Throughout Bond's plays there is an analysis, sometimes implicit, of

the nature of violence, its causes and its consequences. Each of the

plays takes the analysis a step further. I have chosen to concentrate

on Lear because it is one of the most representative pieces of work

about violence in our society. In this play Bond's humanistic

philosophy is clear : "aggression is an ability but not a necessity".[1]

He condemns our society which uses violence supposedly for the

wellbeing of people, but without worrying about the disastrous

consequences. In this paper, I shall argue that violence is not the

best reaction to aggression. And I shall describe its causes and its

consequences throughout Lear; though giving some examples from The Sea

and Narrow Road to the Deep North to demonstrate all the facets of

this aggressivity.

The violence that Bond condemns is not violence in general but

specifically social injustice and war. It is present from the very

beginning of the play in the summary execution of a worker accused of

sabotage. This already sets the tragic mood of the play. One of the

great debates of Lear is the question: "do the ends justify the

means?" This is one of the big problems of our society. The play

mainly shows that the nature and interaction of social and personal

circumstances are the leading element of any action. Indeed, people

have good intentions but their means to achieve them are often based

on violence and thus lead to war.

In Lear the symbol of this violence is the construction of the wall.

In fact, Lear claims that what he is doing is good and correct. Lear's

actions are thos...

... middle of paper ...

...y, which gives it an important weight.

Bond's philosophy is clear: violence is not an antidote to it. We must

act to change the world to have a better future. But this means a

fundamental change: we live in a world where the roots of almost any

action is violence and it should be motivated by a pacific spirit!


Bond, Edward. Plays:2. London: Eyre Methuen, 1978.

Coult, Tony. The Plays of Edward Bond. London: Eyre Methuen,1977.

Hay, Malcolm and Roberts, Philip.Bond a Study of his Plays. London:

Eyre Methuen,1980


[1] Edward Bond, Plays :2 ( London: Eyre Methuen, 1978), p.4. All

further references are to this edition.

[2] This idea is also developed by Tony Coult in The plays of Edward

Bond (London: Eyre Methuen,1977).