Analysis of the Play `Master Harold`…and the Boys

Play Analysis


Analysis of the Play ‘Master Harold’…and the Boys

The setting of the play&quot Master Harold&quot….and the Boys isin South Africa. It reflects racial conflicts during apartheid. Theplaywright is based on author`s personal experiences as anadolescent. The play was politically motivated and set in 1950instead of 1945. Fugard was the first South African playwright toblend cultures. He wrote in English but used Afrikaner culture andmoods. Fugard was the first artist to breaks apartheid rules byartistically putting black and white characters on stage at the sametime (Hove, M.,2016). The primary thematic concern in this play isracism, and through the play, he reveals the effects of apartheid onspecific traits.

Theplay`s emotional climax reaches when the rain keeps customers away.Sam and Willie are euphoric because the rain has kept the whitebosses and white customers away and they can exercise some littlefreedom. The two have a rare opportunity to speak freely at work.Willie is anxious about the upcoming Dancing competition and sings ashe cleans the floor. The dance is symbolically used to representfreedom and escapism. Racism begins to show when Hally and Willierepartee about the dance and Willie accidentally hits Hally with therag. All these factors bring tension among characters and effects ofapartheid are felt (Hove M, 2016).

Racismis the major theme in the play, and racial tension occurs between itsthree characters. One of the case that portray racism is where twoblack men are working under a white boy who presumes to be moreintellectual and socially superior of societal views of skin color Fugard reveals the effects of apartheid in different relationshipsamong the characters. For instance, the black men are the servantswhile the white are the masters. Hally calls Sam and Willie children,this is a show of demarcation of the differences between the tworaces where one is superior to the other despite the age (Hove M,2016). Hally is used symbolically as racism tracker. He claims thatsocial dances have come in place of tribal dances of the black. Thekite is used symbolically to show racial difference Harold is not ina position to explain why a white man flying a kite with a black manis &quotstrange.&quot

Theprotagonist of this play is Hally. He undergoes the largest change inthe play. Hally is fairly friendly and likable and spends much timewith his long term friend Sam. He is portrayed as a confused youngboy who lacks a father figure. On the other hand, Sam is seen as theantagonist of the story because he is the force that rises Hally. Hethrows maturity and patient obstacles to Hally and comes in as thefather figure who prevents him from growing up a bitter man. Sam andWillie are the foils in the play who try and show that all blacks arenot the same, Sam is measured wise while Willie is impulsive andsilly (Hove M, 2016).

Inconclusion, watching the movie is more spectacle than reading it.Watching gives a person a captivating and appealing moment unlikereading it where one can easily get bored. The music in the playbrings in Leif motifs which help to detect the coming of the herothis creates emotional impulses making the play enjoyable. Costumesuse brings mental images. Despite this, the coloring is moreappealing therefore, the themes are felt and understood betterbecause one can see what is happening.


Hove,M. (2016). Local specificities, global resonances: contestingrepresentations of violence in African films. Communicatio, 42(1),23-34.