In the short play “Tape” by Jose Rivera, what is the central theme and how does the author convey it?

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To a large extent, Tape by Jose Rivera can be seen as an allegory on the afterlife. An unnamed Person sits at a table in a simple room, listening to a recording of all the lies he's told throughout his life. With the Person is an Attendant—also unnamed—who informs the...

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To a large extent, Tape by Jose Rivera can be seen as an allegory on the afterlife. An unnamed Person sits at a table in a simple room, listening to a recording of all the lies he's told throughout his life. With the Person is an Attendant—also unnamed—who informs the Person that there are no fewer than 10,000 boxes of tape reels. We can infer from this nugget of information that the Person is someone to whom lying came naturally.

The Attendant states that he doesn't want to cause the Person any undue suffering. This would appear to indicate that the Person is neither in Heaven nor Hell, but somewhere inbetween. Before he's sent to either of those places, he's to be judged on how he's lived his life, a life which as we've already seen was full of lies. Essentially, one could argue that the Person is being prepared for the Day of Judgment, when he must stand before God and answer for all his sins. This means that he must face up to all the lies he's told, as lying is traditionally regarded as sinful in the Christian tradition.

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