In the short play entitled, "Tape" by Jose Rivera, who does No Name represent?

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booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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There are only two characters in the play entitled, "Tape," written by Jose Rivera. There is nothing to indicate whether the characters are male or female.

The first character is simply called "Person." As this play is about one's judgment after death, Person might be compared to Everyman, a medieval morality play of unknown authorship. In Everyman...

...God sits in judgment of Everyman’s soul.

In this play, the protagonist represents all human beings (or every man...and woman). The play describes what happens to Person—and eventually to all people...

There's no differentiation. Everyone's equal.

Person discovers that everything he has ever said, especially the lies, has been recorded. While every person must go through this process, some spend less time in the room because they have lied less. However, Person has to sit and listen to ten thousand boxes of reel-to-reel tapes...tapes that are very long and so require an extended period of time to listen to. This is, in a sense, similar to what some might associate with purgatory or an in-between place, before one goes to heaven or hell. And, as is believed of purgatory, the place Person has been brought to is obviously not without some suffering.

As Person begins to understand what lies ahead of him, he becomes desperately apologetic and very emotional. He is told he can listen and rewind to listen again, but he may not fast forward on any of the tapes. His suffering is in having to listen to...

...every ugly lie to every person, every single time, every betrayal, every lying thought [...] all in these tapes, ten thousand boxes of them...

The Attendant reveals the details of the process to Person.  This is the individual who leads Person into the room where he will begin listening. Attendant makes it clear that he/she and the others who work at this place do not wish any individual who enters to experience "undue suffering." (In this case, where it is dark, Attendant will see to it that the lights are increased for Person's comfort.) We may infer by this statement that there is some suffering—which becomes evident by the end of the play: to be faced with how much one has lied throughout his or her life.

Attendant works here: it is not something to be liked or is the job. However, Attendant also reveals why Person will be listening to so many tapes. With every ugly lie and/or betrayal...

...we were listening, we were recording...

Attendant is compassionate: while Person begins to emotionally unravel, saying that he does not wish to listen to the lies, Attendant admits...

Neither did we. Neither did we.

Neither character is named in the play. Attendant bears his/her name most probably to define his/her purpose in this event. Person is not named, as noted earlier, because he is representative of all humankind. He, as with every other person who has ever lived, will be brought (eventually) to a room like this, to endure the same experience. The universality of the process negates the need for Person to have a name. For again, this happens to every person ever born. Names do not matter for no one is excused or dismissed from being held accountable for what he/she has done.

Additional Source:é_Rivera_(playwright)


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