What is the underlying theme developed throughout the play? How do the elements of the drama reflect this?Fences by August WilsonDetailed

Expert Answers
Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that you will find many examples of underlying themes in Wilson's work.  I am not certain that one can be pinpointed.  Most of the themes of the play happen within Troy.  The conflict between desire and duty is heavily present in his actions.  Subjugating the former in the socially accepted role of the latter is part of his character composition.  This is revealed throughout the play for while Troy fulfills the supposed duties of husband, father, and provider, there is little joy in these.  This alienated sense of division is also thematically conveyed in how Troy views the world, as a realm where dreams are meant to crush individuals who are pinned under the weight of sociological reality that reduces that which is dynamic and vibrant into the mundane.  Troy's fear of death helps to inspire his building of the fence, yet another partition in his world, and the only dream that he actively embraces at a point in his life where such conceptions fade fast is a fruitless one in fending off death.