How can I write an essay about the play Saved by Edward Bond?

To write an essay about the play Saved by Edward Bond, you could focus on whether that central controversial scene in which a group of men stone to death a baby goes too far or, in contrast, is dramatically appropriate. Whatever side you choose, be sure to back up your thesis statement with quotes and evidence from the play.

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Bond's Saved was a highly controversial—and censored—play when it was first staged, and its central act, the stoning to death of a baby, still shocks. This controversy offers more than one opening for an essay.

Bond is quoted in a 2011 article in The Guardian saying that initially, he...

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Bond's Saved was a highly controversial—and censored—play when it was first staged, and its central act, the stoning to death of a baby, still shocks. This controversy offers more than one opening for an essay.

Bond is quoted in a 2011 article in The Guardian saying that initially, he didn't envision the characters killing a baby, but instead:

"set[ting] fire to something in a park. But what drama does is push things to an extreme."

Bond also went on to say that the play looks forward to a more violent future. However, we might see it as harkening back to the violent past of Nazi Germany and the victimization of the Jews, a group with little power to fight back.

Your essay might examine what power there is pushing things to an extremes: is the play effective in showing men killing a baby? Or does this go too far, so much so that viewing it is counterproductive? After all, there is a tradition in theater of showing the worst acts off stage. For example, Macbeth murdering Duncan or Oedipus poking his eyes out are almost always reported after the fact rather than shown. Or was the shock value an important element of the play in the 1960s, a period when much literature was pushing to extremes and violence was much on people's minds in England? (You might want to think about Burgess's A Clockwork Orange, another exploration of working-class violence and rage, as a context for Saved).

Whatever you decide, that the shock value of the scene was very important or that it went too far, use quotes from the play to support your evaluation. You would want—if this is the path you choose to follow—to write a thesis statement that argues that Bond does or doesn't go too far with the baby-killing scene. Then you would use quotes from the play and evidence from literary history to back your claims. There is no right or wrong answer to this question, but you want to be sure you are backing up your argument as strongly as possible.

Another way to go that gives you more distance is to discuss whether the censorship of the play was right or wrong. Should we censor such acts of violence, when they do happen in real life? Again, you would follow the same format as above.

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