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The Piano Lesson Essay

1390 words - 6 pages

The Piano Lesson: Vengeance, Family Ties, Religion and Spirits

August Wilson “The Piano Lesson “is a play that presents suspenseful and dramatic family ties, According to the Los Angelas Times the play is "Feisty, ebullient, and exuberant ... Wilson is a consummate storyteller” (Los Angelas Times). The dialogue between the characters gives a feeling of relation , for instance the bickering and upfront attitude, revealed by the actors “ The piano lesson have hovered in the American psyche for centuries now “ quotes Wilborn Hampton ( Wilborn Hampton) . August Wilson provides the narrative of the Charles family as they encounter both the challenges of the past and present struggles to ...view middle of the document...

As noted by Wilson, the two questions that pervade The Piano Lesson are: "What do you do for your legacy? And how far will you go? Subsequently, Willie boy and Bernice, in the play are at a tug of war when Willie wants to sell the antique just to buy land from their old slave master, Mr. Sutter. Willie Boy plans to proclaim his family’s history with pride. In selling the piano, Willie boy believes that his revenge could be accomplished by selling what is most important to Mr. Sutter and is family, as well as buying the land that which his family was born and raised on.
The history of the piano is steeped in violence - "thieving and killing, thieving and killing," Berniece say (wilson - and it is the legacy of the bloodshed that makes the piano so valuable, either as a treasured keepsake or as an item for sale. Unfortunately Bernices refuses to sell the piano. In this continues struggle between the two, Wilson develops Berniece’s character as one that is inseparable from the idea of family legacy, thereby invoking her as the symbolic link to the family’s past and present. As the piano evolves from a symbol of conflict and disruptiveness within the family to one of unifier and healer, Berniece is the one to convey and carry on its lessons.
Willie Boy plans to proclaim his family’s history with pride. In selling the piano, Willie boy believes that his revenge could be accomplished by selling what is most important to Mr. Sutter and is family, as well as buying the land that which his family was born and raised on. Vengeance is also portrayed in the play by Bernices husband, Crawley. In the play, Boy Willie along with his friend Lymon who is described in the script as a “Twenty nine year old male who is very talkative and often disarming” (Wilson) and Crawley, get into a domestic altercation with a couple of white men, Crawley decides to fight back and is killed on sight. The ghost of Crawley appears once Boy Willie and Lymon arrives in the home. “I told him to go away and he just stood there kept looking at me ... Calling Willie boy’s name” says Bernice (August Wilson pg. 8) who claims that her brother is responsible for the death of her late husband. Crawley is presented in the play to represent the vengeance towards Crawley and Lymon that he has for his death.

In the script, Wilson ties the spiritual aspect with the family and its history, as well as the Christian spirituality involved with the family. Berniece's suitor, Avery, is a religious man. In order to disconnect the ghost's ties to the piano, Avery agrees to bless Berniece's house. When Avery, an up-and-coming reverend, passionately recites passages from the Bible, the ghost does not budge. In fact, the ghost becomes even more aggressive, and this is when Boy Willie finally witnesses the ghost and their battle begins. In the middle of The Piano Lesson's chaotic final scene, Berniece has an epiphany. She...

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