Essay about Jerusalem

2081 Words 9 Pages
“Throughout comedy the emphasis is on human limitations rather than on human greatness” (John Morreal Comedy Tragedy and Religion). To what extent does Jez Butterworth focus on human weakness and ineptitude in his play ‘Jerusalem’?

Jez Butterworth’s ‘Jerusalem’ creates a comic vision focusing on the ambiguities, turmoil and hypocrisies of the society presented on stage. Butterworth focuses on the characters’ degeneracies in which the form of humour tends to be the exposure of their unruly behaviour and their reluctance to conform to social norms. “The most basic difference between comedy and tragedy lies in its central characters, who are not heroes, and often, as with Shakespeare’s Falstaff, are anti-heroic” The key character Johnny
…show more content…
Your dad’s a gyppo. He’s going to prison.” And so within one sentence, Johnny’s underlying discrepancies are announced publicly. The use of the word “gyppo” automatically gives an external opinion on how Johnny is viewed by society and how the seemingly superiority held by Johnny may not be continued outside his rural bubble. This home truth would affect audiences in both a positive and negative way as they would not know whether to laugh at the alcohol-induced character who craves Bacchanalian parties- or cringe at the man who clearly goes against social norms to appease his rejection and would rather focus on “whizz” than his son.
Butterworth expands on this by ultimately knocking down his superiority that is very prominent throughout, by the physical power of Troy Whitworth; a complete adversary compared to Johnny himself. “We’ll bury the hatchet all right. Right in your fuckin’ skull, pikey” portrays the dark humour of the play and how even though Troy’s continuous threats and the use of the word “pikey” can be seen as a comic devices they are not empty; they hold an underlying aggression that is soon expressed in a climactic humiliation. A rather tragic view of Johnny’s loss of power is through the explanation of how he had pissed himself- “pissed all over your trousers, your coat. And, you know what they done? They undone their flies and they pissed on you too” moves the comedy

Related Documents