Sergeant Musgrave's Dance Essay

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In this essay, Petrusso contends that though most critics and scholars maintain that Serjeant Musgrave's Dance promotes pacifism, the play is actually a pro-war and pro-army drama.

Although Serjeant Musgrave's Dance has been extremely controversial from its first production in 1959, most critics and scholars agree that the play is pacifist in nature. That is, they believe the play depicts armed conflict and army life in very negative, futile terms.

Yet to accomplish this, Arden explores both the positive and negative aspects of military life. Many critics point to this duality as a hallmark of Arden's developing style though they also claim that it bogs down the play's true meaning.

However, I contend that Arden implicitly supports violence, the army, and war throughout the play. Pacifism loses in Musgrave, and while the audience could walk away believing that pacifism should triumph, Arden does not do much to give hope...

(read more from the Critical Essay #1 section)

This section contains 1,415 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Sergeant Musgrave's Dance Study Guide
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Sergeant Musgrave's Dance from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.