Ghosts In The Piano Lesson

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The Concept of Ghosts as Portrayed in The Piano Lesson

The Piano Lesson, a play written by August Wilson, portrays a family that has been living within the presence of various ghosts and spirits. The play hones in on the Charles family living in Pittsburgh during the depression. Doaker, Berniece and Maretha are surprised with a visit from Bernice’s brother Boy Willie and his partner Lymon. In the house which Berniece, Doaker and Maretha live, there is a piano; a family heirloom that has carvings of ancestors carefully engraved in the wood. Boy Willie is determined to sell the piano, at least his portion of it, in order to purchase a property that his family’s long ago ancestors were once slaves on. Berniece doesn’t want anything to do with
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Most of the Charles family worked as slaves on Sutter’s land before they died. When the Ghost of the Yellow Dog pushed Sutter down the well, to his death, he immediately sought out for revenge from the remainder of the family members. When Berniece sets eyes on the ghost of Sutter she goes into a frenzy of terrifying screeches, calling out for Doaker. Berniece explains that she has just seen the ghost of Sutter and that it is not a figment of her imagination, “Sutter… Sutter’s standing at the top of the steps… I come out my room to come back down here and Sutter was standing there in the hall… He look like Sutter. He look like he always look.” (13) The ghost of Sutter can be concluded to haunting of the Charles family because they are now in possession of the piano that once stood in his home. The ghost of Sutter is seeking out revenge on the Charles family, as their ancestors are in some way connected to his death directed by the Ghost of the Yellow Dog. Although Sutter is seeking revenge, he is also restless and unsettled. He continues to haunt the Charles household, pursuing more attention. It is not until the end of the play where we see Sutter’s ghost at its most intense

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