Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Essay

Hugh Wheeler
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Goldfarb has a Ph.D. in English and has published two books on the Victorian author William Makepeace Thackeray. In the following essay, Goldfarb explores the nature of revenge in Wheeler's play.

It is not unusual for works of art to inspire conflicting interpretations among critics and commentators, but Sweeney Todd is unusual in inspiring conflicting interpretations among its own creators. On the title page of the published version of the musical play, four different creators are given credit: Stephen Sondheim for the music and for the words to the songs, Hugh Wheeler for the "book" (meaning the unsung parts of the dialogue), Christopher Bond for the non-musical play on which the musical was based, and Harold Prince for directing the first production of the musical.

Two of these creators especially differed about the meaning of the musical. For Sondheim, it was a tale of personal revenge. For...

(read more from the Critical Essay #2 section)

This section contains 2,017 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Study Guide
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