The Ruling Class Essay

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In this essay, Page provides an overview of Barnes's play, delineating the action of the play and the manner in which the narrative satirizes the British class system.

The Ruling Class is a large-cast, epic, state-of-England play, resembling others of the 1960's and early 1970's, such as The Workhouse Donkey, by John Arden, and Brassneck, by Howard Brenton and David Hare. It is in 27 scenes, with prologue and epilogue, and opens with the 13th Earl of Gurney delivering a speech praising England, parodying Shakespeare's Richard II: "this teeming womb of privilege, this feudal state... this ancient land of ritual", followed by the National Anthem. An abrupt switch follows the first of many: the Earl returns home to Tucker, his faithful old butler, and speaks, with the rich language typical of Barnes' work, of passing the death sentence (for he is a judge, too): "If you've once put on...

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This section contains 819 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Ruling Class Study Guide
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The Ruling Class from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.