Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 241
- In a career spanning more than thirty years Sam Shepard has produced dozens of one-acts, full-length dramas, and screenplays. Some of his more popular plays include The Tooth of Crime (1972), Curse of the Starving Class (1977), True West (1980), Fool for Love (1983), and A Lie of the Mind (1985). These are all available in collected anthologies of Shepard's work such as Sam Shepard: Seven Plays and The Unseen Hand and Other Plays.
- Buried Child echoes the plots, characters, and themes of some of the greatest plays in Western dramatic literature. Consider reading Oedipus Rex (c. 430-425 B.C.), Sophocles' tragedy about murder and incest in ancient Greece.
- Death of a Salesman (1949) is Arthur Miller's modern tragedy about mediocrity and struggling with the American dream. Buried Child echoes many of its themes of disillusionment, delusion, and shattered hope.
- Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1962) is Edward Albee's dark and twisted portrayal of a middle-aged couple's fights and fantasies over their imaginary son.
- Buried Child, like many of Shepard's plays, recalls elements of popular myths and legends from society's shared past. The play is filled with symbolism and characters who resemble figures from the bible, childhood stories, and the myths of cultures around the world. For a scholarly exploration of the value of myths in human society, try Joseph Campbell's Hero with a Thousand Faces(1949). Campbell examines tales from Oedipus the King to Beauty and the Beast, and explains the archetypal hero common to all human beings.
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