Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Themes

Hugh Wheeler
This Study Guide consists of approximately 23 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Sweeney Todd.
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Corruption

The play's focus on corruption is announced by Sweeney in the first scene when he describes London as "a great black pit" inhabited by "the vermin of the world." There is no morality in Sweeney's London where "at the top of the hole / Sit the privileged few / Turning beauty into filth and greed." Judge Turpin becomes an illustration of one of those privileged few whose "justice" is meted out according to his own greedy appetites. He sends Sweeney off to a prison colony in Australia on false charges so that Judge Turpin can more easily lure Sweeney's wife into his bed. Turpin's hypocrisy emerges in his treatment of a young boy who comes before his court. Insisting that it is his "earnest wish ever to temper justice with mercy," he nevertheless determines that he cannot be lenient to someone who repeatedly commits crimes. Thus, he sentences the boy...

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This section contains 674 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Study Guide
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Drama for Students
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.