Sergeant Musgrave's Dance Essay

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In the following essay, Adler suggests that Musgrave's first dance partakes of ritual elements in "a grotesque parody of the Christian 'slaying of winter' the Crucifixion and a perversion of its essential meaning."

In a recent article, Mary B. O'Connell suggests that John Arden's Serjeant Musgrave's Dance is "a contemporary folk ritual" whose "characterization and plot development" are modeled on the medieval Mummers Play of Plough Monday, which traditionally was "a mime slaying of winter." The purpose here is not to dispute Miss O'Connell's suggestion, since the Plough Monday play might well be the inspiration behind some elements in Arden's drama, especially the second dance near the end during which "Each man takes his drink, swigs a large gulp, then links wrists with the previous one, until all are dancing around the centrepiece in a chorus, singing." I suggest, however, that the first dance in the play, undertaken...

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This section contains 1,336 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.