Comparing the Anti-Social Plays of Cyrano de Bergerac and Night of the Iguana
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The Anti-Social Plays of Cyrano de Bergerac and Night of the Iguana
Cyrano is clearly a better example of an anti-social play than Night of the Iguana: Not only is this shown by the main characters and their relationship to each other, but more important, it is shown in the themes of these two plays.
Shannon is unmistakably an ideal character for an anti-social play: While Cyrano may be alienated from society, it is, in many ways, through his own choice. For instance, he could have a position at court with his skill with poetry, but instead he chooses to follow his own conscience: "What would you have me do? ... like a creeping vine on a tall tree, crawl upward? ... No thank you!" Cyrano wants to make himself "in…show more content… (At the trial of Galileo in 1615, Cardinal Bellarmine declared, "To assert that the earth revolves around the sun is as erroneous as to claim that Jesus was not born of a virgin"). Eventually, most people began to believe scientific theories about the nature of the universe, rather than religious dogmas. A deistic philosophy emerged and became influential, differing from Christianity in viewing God as a great clock maker who was above any petty worship that humans could give him. The deistic view was a harmonious consolidation of religious and scientific beliefs into one (usually deterministic) philosophy.
However, the deistic world-view was not able to withstand the twin blows of Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, which came at the beginning of the twentieth century. Briefly, these two developments state that an absolute limit exists to the knowledge that can be understood by scientific and logical means. This, I believe, is where the anti-social play becomes important: it reflects society's belief that there is nothing to believe in anymore. The emergence of many philosophies (such as existentialism, atheistic satanism, objectivism, nihilism, and hedonism) which focus on despair or selfishness also reflects this. Anti-social plays, of which we