The Real Inspector Hound.

Authors Avatar

The Real Inspector Hound

Tom Stoppard

Contrasting settings, ideals and people dominate The Real Inspector Hound. Almost every character has an opposite, and is otherwise totally unique. Cynthia is opposite to

Felicity, Simon is the contrast of Magnus, and so on. Tom Stoppard has included these contrasts for a variety of reasons and effects that combine to create the disturbing effect of the play incredibly effectively. But what individual effects do his characters create by opposing each other so accurately.

At the start of the play, Stoppard deliberately confuses the audience with the opposing characters of Birdboot and Moon, at first; the audience is left to indulge in the view of moon and the body, this allows them to create their own impression of Moon, and Stoppard encourages this impression with moons early actions. Moon begins by staring blankly ahead, then he reads his program, then he continues to stare. This affects the audience because Moon appears to be a simple member of the audience, and so the audience become infuriated at the pause, yet he is on the stage and so the audience become perplexed as to whether Moon is a member of the audience, or a character in the play. It is when the audience are most confused and becoming bored that Stoppard introduces the next part, Birdboot. Birdboot is a polar opposite of Moon, and as the audience will swiftly become aware, represents one stereotypical type of critic, whilst moon represents another, the opposite.

Birdboot settles into the chair next to Moon eating a packet of chocolate, instantly the contrast is obvious to the audience, here is Moon, reading his program and thinking intensely, when Birdboot turns up, munches some chocolates loudly and begins to talk. Birdboot’s first words confirm the audience’s thoughts. Birdboot is a proletarian moron, just the sort of person they like to imagine when they think of a critic. Birdboot asks where Higgs is; moon instantly replies with a paragraph of life, the universe and everything, now the audience know that the two people are critics, and they also know Moon is the other type of critic, the sort who does waffle about the meaning of life and reality in his reviews. Ironically, despite these characters being totally obvious as opposites, as the audience have worked out from just a few lines of speech, Moon defines his opposite as Higgs, leaving Birdboot out of the question. The audiences now how some time to scoff at Stoppard’s flimsy attempt to create realistic critics. This effect is just what Stoppard wanted from the opposing critics in the opening scene. The audiences is confused as to what is the play, and what is not, they are waiting for what they think is the play to start, they are become increasingly agitated and are passing the time scoffing about how truly terrible Stoppard’s characters are, if Stoppard is lucky, they may also be beginning to look forward to a pantomime.

Join now!

These effects allow Stoppard to introduce the comical character of Mrs Drudge with far greater effect than would have been possible had Stoppard simply introduced her from the start. Stoppard even manages to increase this sense of pantomime with a cheap joke with Birdboot. As Mrs Drudge prepares to enter, Birdboot, predictably, begins to go on about the girl he took out and asks Moon to observe her as she enters When Mrs Drudge does enter, the audience are feeling very pleased with themselves at having sussed out this play, totally drawn into the spectacular double bluff Stoppard has ...

This is a preview of the whole essay