David Hare: A Milder Day

  • Duncan Wu


‘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.


Labour Party National Theatre Dinner Party Final Scene Practical Instrument 
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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
  7. 7.
    Malcolm Page, File on Hare (London: Methuen, 1990), p. 43.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    File on Hare, p. 44.Google Scholar
  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
  13. 13.
    History Plays, p. 204.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    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
  17. 17.
    William Wordsworth, The Ruined Cottage and The Pedlar, ed. James Butler (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1978), p. 157.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    File on Hare, p. 61.Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Heading Home, p. 113.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Heading Home, pp. 128-9.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    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
  23. 23.
    David Hare, Strapless (London: Faber, 1989), p. 72.Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Strapless, p. 79.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    V, iii, 17-19.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    V, iii, 307-8.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Heading Home, p. 15.Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    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
  29. 29.
    Heading Home, p. 25.Google Scholar
  30. 30.
    Heading Home, p. 36.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Heading Home, p. 35.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Heading Home, p. 37.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Heading Home, p. 55.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Heading Home, p. 65.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Heading Home, p. 66.Google Scholar
  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
  39. 39.
    Paris by Night, p. 82.Google Scholar
  40. 40.
    Paris by Night, p. 82.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    For The Spectator, c.1970; see File on Hare, p. 84. Knuckle (1974) was apparently inspired by Macdonald’s work; see History Plays, p. 11.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Secret Rapture, p. 17.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Secret Rapture, p. 5.Google Scholar
  44. 44.
    Secret Rapture, p. 40.Google Scholar
  45. 45.
    Secret Rapture, p. 70.Google Scholar
  46. 46.
    Secret Rapture, pp. 82-3.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    File on Hare, pp. 74-5.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    V, iii, 313.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    V, iii, 314-15.Google Scholar
  50. 50.
    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
  52. 52.
    Secret Rapture, p. 83.Google Scholar
  53. 53.
    David Hare, Asking Around: Background to the David Hare Trilogy (London: Faber, 1993), p. 8.Google Scholar
  54. 54.
    David Hare, Racing Demon (London: Faber, 1990), p. 3.Google Scholar
  55. 55.
    Racing Demon, p. 52.Google Scholar
  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
  58. 58.
    Murmuring Judges, p. 82.Google Scholar
  59. 59.
    Secret Rapture, p. 48.Google Scholar
  60. 60.
    Murmuring Judges, p. 85.Google Scholar
  61. 61.
    IV, vi, 164-5.Google Scholar
  62. 62.
    Racing Demon, p. 79.Google Scholar
  63. 63.
    Racing Demon, p. 54.Google Scholar
  64. 64.
    Racing Demon, p. 56.Google Scholar
  65. 65.
    File on Hare, p. 83.Google Scholar
  66. 66.
    Racing Demon, p. 88.Google Scholar
  67. 67.
    David Hare, The Absence of War (London: Faber, 1993), pp. 18–19.Google Scholar
  68. 68.
    Absence of War, p. 104.Google Scholar
  69. 69.
    Absence of War, p. 20.Google Scholar
  70. 70.
    Absence of War, p. 18.Google Scholar
  71. 71.
    Absence of War, p. 91.Google Scholar
  72. 72.
    Absence of War, p. 4.Google Scholar
  73. 73.
    Absence of War, p. 53.Google Scholar
  74. 74.
    Asking Around, p. 221.Google Scholar
  75. 75.
    Absence of War, p. 92.Google Scholar
  76. 76.
    Absence of War, p. 97.Google Scholar
  77. 77.
    Absence of War, p. 50.Google Scholar
  78. 78.
    Heading Home, p. 123.Google Scholar
  79. 79.
    Asking Around, p. 237.Google Scholar
  80. 80.
    Absence of War, p. 15.Google Scholar
  81. 81.
    Asking Around, p. 206.Google Scholar
  82. 82.
    Absence of War, p. 49.Google Scholar
  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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