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What the Butler Saw Summary
Joe Orton

Everything you need to understand or teach What the Butler Saw by Joe Orton.

  • What the Butler Saw Summary & Study Guide
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What the Butler Saw Summary


Joe Orton's What the Butler Saw was first performed on March 5, 1969, a year and a half after its author's death. Like Orton's earlier plays, What the Butler Saw appalled and enraged audiences with its blatant sexuality and attacks on authority and conventional morality. The first audiences were so outraged that they disturbed the performance, yelling at the actors and destroying their programs. In the ensuing years, society's standards have become less restrictive, though there are many who would still be shocked and angered by Orton's work. Orton, however, has gained international respect and recognition as an important playwright. Most critics regard What the Butler Saw as his finest play.

The title of the play comes from an Edwardian peepshow, a type of entertainment in which people viewed pictures, often erotic, through a small lens. The implication behind the title is one of voyeurism. The audience is to be given...

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What the Butler Saw Study Guide

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