What is MacLeish's style and form of writing in his play J.B., and what are the techniques he used? What are the literary devices used in this play?  

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The play begins in a circus tent, where two of its employees, Mr. Zuss (Zeus/God) and Nickels (Satan), enact the biblical story of Job. Only in this retelling, although “Job” is J.B., a wealthy banker from New England, he actually represents an Everyman character, meaning he represents all of humanity....

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The play begins in a circus tent, where two of its employees, Mr. Zuss (Zeus/God) and Nickels (Satan), enact the biblical story of Job. Only in this retelling, although “Job” is J.B., a wealthy banker from New England, he actually represents an Everyman character, meaning he represents all of humanity. Additionally, J.B. is completely unaware of the wager between good and evil that is taking place, unlike his biblical counterpart.

Staged in a circus ring and spanning years throughout its eleven scenes, the drama incorporates a form called metadrama, which is more commonly known as a play-within-a play. In this form, actors directly address the audience at times throughout the performance via their prologues and monologues, so there is no “fourth wall” or separation of audience and cast. Other examples of this form include Shakespeare’s, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Hamlet, as well as works by Brecht, Pirandello, and Beckett.

Two literary devices MacLeish uses in J.B. are free verse and allusion. Free verse, as its name implies, is poetry written without a specific meter or rhyme scheme. Despite this, its style could still be considered more formal or heightened than straight dialogue. Allusion uses a reference to a well-known character, work of art, or event as a kind of springboard to present subject matter in a newer context. In this instance, the overarching allusion to the Book of Job helps MacLeish frame his commentary about attitudes towards the nature of good and evil, existence of God, and the nature of human suffering.

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