Humans Ability to Survive the Worst—The Sea

  • December 29, 2021
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“In The Sea, Bond shows the ability of human beings to survive the worst, to retain their optimism and not to brought down by the lunacy and injustice of the world they live in”. Discuss with close reference to the text.

Violence has dominated the world in both World Wars. The literature, after World War II presents realism, in which the behavior of humans is brutal. Many post war plays discuss the social and political issues but the main theme of these plays was the rough treatment of humans with each others. Indeed, Edward Bond has written this play with the theme of cruelty and violence but at the end, he has given hope to the audience and advised them to survive the worst. It is not wrong to say that Edward Bond has created a bright thoroughfare towards optimism and a walk on this thoroughfare can escort the world. On one hand, he shows violence but on the other hand he demonstrates a procedure to escape from that bloodshed. The writer also expresses that escapism is not only an option; one can face a problem and if he remains unsuccessful then he can escape to save himself from the worst. If one is willing to survive, he can do so by adopting some serious methods of survival. “The Sea” is a tragic-comedy yet it ends with a message of optimism. Although, the war had destructed the world yet many people have survived from it. It is the war, which has changed many prudent minds. Hatch is among those persons, who are afraid from unknown forces. He calls Willy an alien and thinks that he has come here to destroy the world. On the contrary, Edward Bond has balanced the play while portraying characters like Willy and Evens in contrast to Hatch. If Hatch and his friends are symbol of destruction then Willy and Evens are for survival of humanity. Edward Bond, while drawing characters in contrast to each other, has tried to balance his play so far as the theme of hope and optimism if concerned.

Willy is the first character, through which, the writer tries to show that the world may be cruel but the humans have the capacity to face every problem. Willy has been attacked and threatened by many other characters yet he remained kind hearted. He has lost his friend Collins due to Hatch even then his attitude towards him is not harsh. His mind-set is optimistic. Willy can be regarded as representative of whole human beings in this play. He is fighting against cruelty and injustice on behalf of humankind. A critic, while commenting on Willy’s characters says:-

“These are vial characters, the ones to whom you respond, for whom you care—If the death matters them, it matter to the story faced, the silent, the young automatic Willy and Rose—as dead as the dead man, but representing the hope of the future.”

It is right that in form of Willy’s character, we find hope and optimism. Hatch’s character has been put by the writer in contrast to Willy’s character. He sees the world around him with skeptic eyes and considers everyone his enemy. He first befriends Mrs. Rafi but when Mrs. Rafi tries to defend Willy while criticizing Hatch, he doubts her character and considers her companion of Willy. Comparison between Willy and Hatch is very significant to spread light on the theme of optimism. Hatch reveals the problem of world, whereas Willy is the solution. Hatch is symbol of pessimism, whereas Willy is symbol of optimism. Hatch symbolizes for worst condition of humanity but Willy symbolizes for the positive force to survive from that worst condition. Human madness has been shown in the character of Hatch, whereas human’s ability of existence even in lunacy has been portrayed through Willy’s characters. Hatch’s mind sees negativity in things, whereas Willy sees positivity in everything. Hatch attacks on Collin’s dead body, imagining that he is Willy and tries to destroy it but Willy’s survival is a hope that humans can elude from devastation. In this way, both these characters are in contrast to each other and at the end Willy’s survival shows the dominance of endurance over destruction.

Evens’s character is also full of hope and optimism. In fact, his two speeches, first in scene three and second in last scene, are comparison between evil and good. Ultimately, it proves that goodness/optimism always controls the evil. In his first speech, he says:-

“You see? People are cruel and boring and obsessed. If he goes past that point you’ve lost him. He should come in. He’s hanging round out there now. He could see us if he was not dead. My wife died in hospital. She had something quite minor. I sold up. They hate each other. Force makes us push, burn sell. For what? A heap of rubbish. ”

This speech of Evens reveals the worst condition of humanity but his last speech gives a clue that humans can survive from worst conditions. He knows that suffering is an integral part of human life but with still and patience, everything would become right at the end. His speech, in last scene of play is worth mentioning:-

“Suffering is a universal language and we all have to end differently but don’t give up hope. That is always silly. The truth’s waiting for you. It’s very patient; and you’ll find it. Remember, I’ve told you these things so that you won’t despair. But you must still change the world.”

No doubt, the speech is full of hope and optimism. His philosophy of life triumphs the mad society of Hatch, Hollarcut Carter and Thompson. Evens in this regard is mouth piece of Bond’s faith of optimism.

To conclude, Edward Bond has shown that the world’s existence is due to optimism. If everyone has pessimistic approach, the world will become sad, gloomy and sorrowful. Humans have the capability to convert pessimism into optimism but a little effort is required. World may be dominated by violence, worries and destructions but everything can be ended with a little effort and faith. Evens’s vision is remarkable in this content when he says to Willy “you must change the world”.

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