English428TheRelapse - Edmund St Gumdrop English 428...

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Edmund St. Gumdrop English 428 Paper #2, Scene Analysis The Relapse I.I or The Undeniable Tragedy of Domestication The end of Cibber’s Love’s Last Shift left audiences with a “reformed” rake and the sneaking suspicion of a situation too good (or perhaps just too lame) to be true. Like Dorimant’s promise in the end of The Man of Mode , the idea of an utterly de-raked Loveless (a man so deeply debauched as to brush off the news of his wife’s supposed death) has rang hollow with audiences and critics alike. The Relapse takes this dissatisfaction/disbelief and channels it into five acts which ultimately met with more success than Love’s Last Shift ever did. Like the ending of Love’s Last Shift , the beginning scene of The Relapse is perhaps the most difficult to reconcile with audiences. Full of cloying speech and bereft of any straight comedy, it might easily be performed as the most boring scene in the entire play. However it is precisely this drab, milk-toast quality that the director must seize hold of and amplify to a level that it becomes so extremely boring that it is actually entertaining. It is essential that this scene is performed in such a way that the audience both anticipates and advocates Loveless’ eventual fall into traditional rake behavior.
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From the very first stage direction it is made clear that we are dealing with an entirely different Loveless than the one seen in the majority of Love’s Last Shift . He “enters reading”, and immediately makes a statement on philosophy, lauding the supremacy of the mind over the body. This introduction, completely devoid of the rakish qualities that are so demanded in a comic hero, is meant to plunge the audience into despair; a lamentation for the loss of so mighty a rogue as Loveless once was. Other contemporary rakes make their first appearances surrounded by the tools of their trade- opulent clothes, money, booze, etc.- but to enter reading from a book of philosophy is a strong indication that Loveless has been considerably “watered down”. As such, great pains must be taken to make the actor portraying Loveless seem as “wasted” as possible
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English428TheRelapse - Edmund St Gumdrop English 428...

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