In Disgraced, how does Akhtar show the disparities between people's outward opinions and inner feelings?

In Disgraced, Ayad Akhtar shows the disparities between people's outward opinions and their inner feelings by examining them under pressure. The pressures which cause them to reveal how they really feel include career anxiety, social and sexual insecurity, alcohol, and angry attacks from other characters.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In the third scene of Disgraced, Akhtar depicts four characters having dinner together. Various types of pressure cause them to abandon their civilized veneers and show their true feelings. The most dramatic instance is Amir, whose insecurity in his life, status, and profession is exacerbated by alcohol and then by exasperation at what he sees as the hypocrisy and shallowness of those around him. These influences drive him to admit that he felt pride at the success of the 9/11 suicide bombers. At the end of the scene, having criticized the Quran for condoning wife-beating, he beats his own wife savagely for infidelity.

Amir is not simply a hypocrite. When he says that Islam is a harsh, barbaric, intolerant religion, he believes what he says. This is why his own attachment to Islam is tribal and brutal, in contrast to the aesthetic approach taken by his wife, Emily, or the spiritual appreciation of his nephew, Abe. His tribalism is mirrored by that of Isaac, a sophisticated secular Jew who professes to appreciate Islam and to have no interest in Judaism. However, the pressure of Amir's anger and tribal hatred brings out the same emotions in Isaac, who suddenly defends Israel as soon as he feels it is being seriously attacked.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 17, 2021
Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial