David Hare: A Milder Day

  • Duncan Wu

Abstract

‘I am a man on a moral mission. I want people to see life as it is. I want them to see their real situation.… See things as they really are. To everyone I pose a question. I am the question.’1 What might be a plausible alibi for any politically correct playwright of the 1990s is, in the mouth of Lambert Le Roux, the corrupt newspaper baron of Pravda (1985), a declaration of ethical bad faith. Le Roux’s aim, to divest people of their ideals, can bear only a parodic relation to that of the play’s authors, Howard Brenton and David Hare. And yet, as we saw in the previous chapter, Brenton’s most recent plays are marked by a deep scepticism about the very nature of principled behaviour; I’d like to begin this discussion of David Hare by tracing the same anxiety in his work.

Keywords

Burning Assure Beach Expense Ghost 

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Notes and References

  1. 1.
    Howard Brenton and David Hare, Pravda (2nd edn, London: Methuen, 1986), pp. 106–7.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    David Hare, The History Plays (London: Faber, 1984), p. 188.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    History Plays, p. 141.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    History Plays, p. 207.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    History Plays, p. 193.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    History Plays, pp. 193-4.Google Scholar
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  8. 8.
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  9. 9.
    History Plays, p. 199.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    History Plays, p. 203.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    History Plays, p. 203.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    History Plays, p. 196.Google Scholar
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    David Hare, Heading Home, Wetherby and Dreams of Leaving (London: Faber, 1991), p. 123.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Heading Home, p. 112.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Heading Home, p. 102.Google Scholar
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    William Wordsworth, The Ruined Cottage and The Pedlar, ed. James Butler (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1978), p. 157.Google Scholar
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    File on Hare, p. 61.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Heading Home, p. 113.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Heading Home, pp. 128-9.Google Scholar
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    Wordsworth’s Prelude, Book VIII, was entitled ‘Love of Nature leading to Love of Mankind’, the philosophical principle on which he based his epic, The Recluse.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Heading Home, p. 78.Google Scholar
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  24. 24.
    Strapless, p. 79.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    V, iii, 17-19.Google Scholar
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    Heading Home, p. 15.Google Scholar
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    This is cogently discussed by Jonathan Wordsworth, William Wordsworth: The Borders of Vision (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1982), Chapter Seven. Hyperlinguistic communication is characteristic of many such parareligious sects; Madame Blavatsky, guru to Yeats and Kandinsky among others, envisaged a similar ‘immaterial’ language based on ‘thought forms’.Google Scholar
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    Heading Home, p. 25.Google Scholar
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  36. 36.
    David Hare, The Secret Rapture (London: Faber, 1988), p. 38.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Secret Rapture, p. 68.Google Scholar
  38. 38.
    David Hare, Paris by Night (London: Faber, 1988), p. 58.Google Scholar
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  40. 40.
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    Quoted from A. Norman Jeffares, A New Commentary on the Poems of W.B. Yeats (London: Macmillan, 1984), p. 364.Google Scholar
  51. 51.
    Lapis Lazuli, 12-17.Google Scholar
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  56. 56.
    In Knuckle (1974) it is ‘one of Surrey’s contagious diseases’, according to a Guildfordian (History Plays, p. 30).Google Scholar
  57. 57.
    David Hare, Murmuring fudges (London: Faber, 1991), p. 83.Google Scholar
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  67. 67.
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  68. 68.
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  69. 69.
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  83. 83.
    Absence of War, pp. 47-8.Google Scholar
  84. 84.
    Absence of War, p. 49.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Duncan Wu 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Duncan Wu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of English LiteratureUniversity of GlasgowUK

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