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Drama

The Rake’s Progress: An Allegorical Drama Told in the Series of Paintings

June 7, 2022 by Essay Writer

Allegorical drama is the one that uses characters or events to symbolize something else. Allegories normal represent specific qualities relating to politics, religion, or morals. The pastoral scene is a drama that idealizes nature and rural life. It shows the conventionalized picture of the natural, innocent rural life. Opera is the dramas that are set to music. They are the theoretical representation of a dramatic performance in the form of music. “The Rake’s Progress” is an excellent example of an allegorical pastoral drama. Other operas also have several elements

“The Rake’s Progress” is a series composed of 8 paintings by an artist called William Hogarth. It depicts the rising and downfall of Tom Rakewell. Tom is the son of a wealthy merchant. He goes to London and misuses his money on luxurious lifestyle, gambling, and prostitution. He is later imprisoned and hospitalized. “The Rake’s Progress” shows how the hero is contemplating his past and what his future has to offer. The setting is in a churchyard. Just like other allegories, “The Rake’s Progress” does not refer to stable historical occurrences, but to the impermanence of time and the past, to the actuality of the historical events in the present.

In the first painting, several events have been used to represent the heir. Tom is seen to have come into his prosperity on the demise of his miserly father. As the servants are mourning, Tom is measuring new clothing. He rejects the hand of his girlfriend and pays her off. The picture of his father above the fireplace counting money symbolizes hospitality.

The second portrait shows several events that symbolize Tom being at his morning levee. It shows the presence of artists as well as other hangers-on who are all dressed in lavish outfits. Tom is surrounded by music master, dancing master, fencing master, landscape gardener, bugler of the fox hunt club, and an ex-soldier, Ex-soldier offering to be Tom’s bodyguard, shows how much Tom was wealthy and respected by the people around him.

The third painting has characters and events that depict a wild party. Tom is drunk, and the prostitutes are taking advantage of his situation by stealing his watch. The black spots on the faces of the prostitutes are for covering the syphilitic sores. The lantern and the watchman’s staff are the remembrances of the orgy.

The fourth portrait shows several events that explain the arrest. Tom had almost got arrested for the Welsh’s debt as he uses Sedan chai to travel to a bash of Queen Caroline. During this moment, Sarah Young saves Tom. This was pretty unexpected because Tom had earlier rejected her. Sarah is a millinery dealer. During the party, allegory was employed when a man who was filling a street lantern spilled oil on the head of Tom. This symbolized the blessings that Tom was facing. In this situation, the benefit was Sarah’s act in saving Tom.

The fifth portrait is the allegory o marriage. Tom is trying to marry an ugly old maid to recover his richness. During the process, Sarah arrives with their child on her arms as her mother struggles with a guest. The scene shows how much Sarah loved Tom, and she wanted to be her wife, but Tom had earlier rejected. Even though she saved Tom from arrest, Tom went ahead and married an old maid.

The sixth painting shows events that symbolize gaming activities. Tom is seen beseeching God to help him in a gambling den since he had lost his wealth. There is a fire that is breaking out behind them, and no one seems to notice. The act of Tom pleading to God for help is a reference to how he was desperately in need of wealth through his gambling game. Everyone in the den was too busy to notice the sign of danger caused by fire.

The seventh portrait is a representation of a prison. Tom is in debtor’s prison, and he cannot get saved this time with his faithful Sarah and his newly wedded wife. The jailer and beer-boy are demanding money from him, and Tom starts going mad. His madness is showed by the alchemy experiment and the telescope for cosmic reflection poking out of the grilled window. One of the inmates is busy writing a fact sheet of how to explain the national debt. All the events literary symbolize what prison looks like. The mental hospital is shown in the Eighth portrait. The play ends with Tom in a mental asylum. Sarah is still helping him by comforting him. Rakewell is even rejecting and ignoring her. He still maintains his ungrateful nature. Sarah did not give up on him until the end. Rakewell’s behavior finally lands him in a hospital, some other operas that have applied Rake’s progress allegory include Gavin Gordon’s ballet, Stravinsky’s stage designs, and Gryson Perry’s series.

In conclusion, Allegorical drama is the one that uses characters or events to symbolize something else. “The Rake’s Progress” is an allegorical pastoral drama composed of 8 paintings by an artist called William Hogarth. It depicts the rising and downfall of Tom Rakewell. Tom is the son of a wealthy merchant. He goes to London and misuses his money on luxurious lifestyle, gambling, and prostitution. He is later imprisoned and hospitalized.

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