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what is the role of the Bedlam in Don Taylor's

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What is the role of the Bedlam in "The Roses of Eyam by Don Taylor?" "The Roses of Eyam" is a play written by Don Taylor in which a small village in Derbyshire is infected with the Bubonic Plague. After the deaths of many villagers, the village decides to isolate itself from the outside world so that the plague does not spread. It is set in 1665, based on a true story and is structured largely on fact. One of the characters in the play is called "the Bedlam". He is a fictional character who is used by the writer to fill many different roles within the play. The Bedlam is used to narrate the play, provide comic relief, provide information to the audience, symbolise and personify the plague and god, highlight social issues and reveal aspects of other characters. The Bedlam is introduced in the first act of the play, when he arrives on stage rattling a box of pennies. ...read more.


The Bedlam tells Marshall Howe that he has seen 6 piles of earth when only 4 graves have been dug. The Bedlam does not know the significance of this information but the audience do and so it is very effective and simple in creating tension. "They polish your bones and hang them up in the cupboard. And all your warm clothes..." the Bedlam tells the fortune of Saville but he again does not realise what he is predicting to happen, but he is providing the audience with information. The next role that the Bedlam fulfils is that of raising social issues. He is used as a comparison between the ways homeless and disabled people were treated then and how they are treated now. In the play the Bedlam is looked down upon, both because he is homeless and disabled. He is patronised by the villagers of Eyam and is not thought as to be able to speak for himself. ...read more.


Finally, the Bedlam is used to help the audience to form opinions of other characters in the play. The audience can form an opinion of a character just from the way that character treats the Bedlam. If a character was treating the Bedlam with respect then the audience would think that that person is kinder than a person who is treating the Bedlam with disrespect. For example, Catherine Thornley treats the Bedlam kindly and with respect. "It's cruel to make him a plaything. Come here, boy," This helps the audience to realise that Catherine Thornley is thought to be a kind and sympathetic character. On the other hand, Saville treats the Bedlam with disrespect and this shows the audience that he is less sympathetic and considerate than Catherine. In conclusion, I believe that although the Bedlam fulfils many roles with the play "The Roses of Eyam", his most significant and effective role is that of comic relief. The control of tension within the play allows Don Taylor to easily and effectively portray his intentions of what he wants to achieve and what he wants the audience to feel. By David Locke ...read more.

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