Great Goodness Of Life Essay, Research Paper
The play by Leroi Jones, Great Goodness of Life, is considered a revolutionary play. It is worth reminding that the revolutionary theater has a purpose of teaching the white society as well as their black brothers about the reality of their existence. The Revolutionary Theatre must teach them their deaths .
In this play, Leroi Jones is attacking the African Americans who are not aware of the cause they should fight for. Court Royal is a black man who is well fitted inside the American society, working at the post office for thirty-five years. Suddenly he is accused of harboring a criminal.
At the beginning of the play, we believe that he is being accused wrongly just because he is black, and then hated by the society. There are even hooded men judging and ill-treating him, which makes us remind of the members of the Ku Klux Klan.
However, the play makes a turn, and we get to know that Court Royal is the criminal himself as he has neglected for many years his family . As he sees images of Malcom. Patrice. Rev. King. Garvey. Dead nigger kids being killed by the police. Medgar Evers. He says: Oh, son son dear God, my flesh, forgive me My sons. This is when he becomes aware of how he indeed has helped killing his brothers by not helping them in their fight. Symbolically, he must kill a member of his family, which means to kill a shadow of his past. With this rite, he will be brought back to his natural reality .
This play fits perfectly in what the revolutionary Theater manifesto preaches.
The Revolutionary Theatre must take dreams and give them a reality. It must isolate the ritual and historical cycles of reality. ( ) Americans will hate the revolutionary theatre because it will be out to destroy them and whatever they believe is real. Our theatre will show victims so that their brothers in the audience will be better able to understand that they are the brothers of victims, and that they themselves are victims, if they are blood brothers. And what we show must cause the blood to rush, so that pre-revolutionary temperaments will be bathed in this blood, and it will cause their deepest souls to move, ( ) We will scream and cry, murder, run through the streets in agony, if it means some soul will be moved, moved to actual life understanding of what the world is, and what it ought to be.
With this we can say that we see in this play a revolutionary theater inside a revolutionary theater. In the play, Court Royal is moved by what was shown to him during the rite. And what is a rite if not a play? He learned what the revolutionary playwrights want the audience to learn. So, Leroi Jones fulfilled his expectations by teaching two souls: Court Royal s and the audience s. The audience learned through the play, while Court Royal learned through the rite.
Jones, Leroi. Four Black Revolutionary Plays Great Goodness of Life.
Jones, Leroi. The Revolutionary Theater. 1965 found at http://www.umich.edu/ eng499/documents/baraka1.html