What is the plot of George L. Aiken's play Uncle Tom's Cabin?
Harriet Beecher Stowe’s anti-slavery novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published in 1852 and became the best-selling novel of the 19th century. The novel features Uncle Tom, the central character whose life in slavery is deeply sentimentalized as Stowe promoted her abolitionist views.
Shortly after the publication of Stowe’s novel, George L. Aiken, an American playwright and actor, created a stage adaptation by the same title.
Aiken played the role of George Harris in the original performance. Aiken’s play introduced many Americans to the narrative before the novel, possibly due to its medium and ease of consumption. Generally speaking, the North received the play well while the South detested it.
Aiken left the major aspects of the plot of the novel intact, including St. Clare’s purchase of Tom, Eva’s death, and the selling of Tom following St. Clare’s death. Two major themes within the play are the chilling beatings slaves received, and escape. Eliza’s escape with Harry and the...
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