Themes In The Laramie Project

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The play The Laramie Project by Moises Kaufman and the members of the Tectonic Theater Project describes the situation of twenty-one-year-old Matthew Shepard. Matthew was known to be homosexual and found himself in a life or death situation when he was attacked by Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney. Matthew Shepard was brutally beaten and passed away after being comatose for five days. The perpetrators were arrested for a number of things including kidnapping and first degree murder. Throughout the play there are many themes that the author displays including religion, violence, and crime; the author uses many different drama terms to illustrate these themes. The drama terms include dialogue, character, tragedy, the antagonist and the setting. …show more content…
This is what this play is all about, and this is what put the end to an innocent young man’s life in a brutal manner. The crime is revealed through the antagonists of the play- Russell Henderson and Aaron McKinney. The actions of these two individuals had an immense impact on the town of Laramie. For example, at the trial for Mr. Henderson the judge had an important speech about the antagonists actions to give him before revealing the sentence that was decided. The judge stated, “Mr. Henderson, you drove the vehicle that took Matthew Shepard to his death. You bound him to that fence in order that he might be more savagely beaten and in order that he might not escape to tell his tale. You left him out there for eighteen hours, knowing full well that he was there, perhaps having an opportunity to save his life, and you did nothing…” (Kaufman). This is important because it shows the judge attempting to make the defendant realize the crimes he committed. The themes of crime and violence go hand in hand because this hate crime was very brutal and could have an impact on anyone. No one could ever imagine their loved ones getting abused in such a horrible way. The setting of the court room at the trial also helped to establish the theme. At the end of his speech the judge states, “The Court finds it appropriate, therefore, that sentenced be ordered as follows: As to Count Three, that being felony murder with robbery, you are to serve a period of imprisonment for the term of your natural life. On Count One, kidnapping, that you serve a period of imprisonment for the term of your natural life. Sentencing for Count One to run consecutive to sentencing for Count Three” (Kaufman). The author including the scene of the trial at the courtroom is an important scene where the setting plays a crucial role in how the murder of Matthew Shepard ends. The courtroom gives some sense of closure to

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