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ENG305 121119.docx

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Jennifer Harris

Hogarth - Gin Lane  Social commentary  Gin subsidized by government  For poor, only escape was gin  Madness, despair, deaths  Man hanging himself because poor  Coffin, babies being fed gin  Social obligations neglected, people self-serving and degenerating to beasts Beggar’s Opera  People went to opera to escape, scene shown would be surprised, same scene can be seen steps away outside theatre  Opera expensive, reserved for upper classes, empty entertainment; subtitles… everyone who wanted to be fashionable went although don’t know what it meant  Scenes in opera are luxurious, idyllic, no worries, lavish, unrealistic, artificial… celebration of artifice and expense  Logic of how plots executed not questioned  Beggars, prostitutes, criminals… set in London, English ballads and folk tunes rather than Italian arias…  Beggars on stage instead of princes/princesses  Very successful, heavily influence British stage  Peachum -> “bring them to trial,” professional thief taker… living from turning thieves over for reward  Poor -> jailed, hanged… stealing capital offense, hanged  Peachum also has own thief gang, advanced system of institutionalized robbery… no justice system, complete control, thieves’ lives in his hands… steal for him, pay fee to get item back…  Polly falls in love with highwayman -> high robbery, stealing from coaches… as well as hearts. Seductive, charming…  Macheath works for Peachum  Macheath married to many women, willing to say anything… Polly believes she’s the only wife  Peachums -> concern of got married, so can’t get paid for sex anymore… cynical, belittled view
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