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Quaker elements in Christopher Fry's dramas Kirkaldy-Willis, Ian Dunbar 1966-12-31

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QUAKER ELEMENTS IN CHRISTOPHER FRY'S DRAMAS by IAIN DUNBAR KIRKALDY-WILLIS B.A., U n i v e r s i t y of Western Ontario, 1964 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n the Department of E n g l i s h We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming t o the re q u i r e d standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA May, 1966 In p resen t i ng t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e fo r re ference and .s tudy . I f u r t h e r agree that permiss ion f o r ex tens ive copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s understood that copying o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n  c i a l ga in s h a l l not be a l lowed wi thout my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department of The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada Date [ML ABSTRACT This t h e s i s examines the i n t e r p l a y of the f o r c e s of l i f e , death and love i n Fry's p l a y s . The relevance of Quakerism t o the i s s u e i s e s t a b l i s h e d i n Chapter I . This chapter takes the mystery of existence as the bas i c point common to Fry's plays and Quakerism and explores i t as i t develops i n each. Christopher Fry in c l u d e s w i t h i n h i s plays abundant evidence of the tragedy inherent i n the human c o n d i t i o n . He transcends t h i s awareness, however, i n h i s c o n s i s t e n t i n t i m a t i o n of the triumph of the v i t a l f o r c e and i n a con cept of redemption through joy as the proper expression of the human s p i r i t . This a t t i t u d e p a r a l l e l s the bas i c frame of mind underlying the Quakerism i n which Fry has h i s r o o t s . The Quaker chooses to be amazed at the mystery of existence r a t h e r than lament h i s i n a b i l i t y t o fathom i t . Indeed, he f i n d s t h i s the n a t u r a l course. I n t u i t i o n s of a gre a t e r r e a l i t y prevent him from i n d u l g i n g i n an unnatural s u i c i d a l concern with h i s human l i m i t a t i o n s . Chapter I I deals more s p e c i f i c a l l y w i t h the mystery of existence w i t h i n each of Fry's p l a y s . Each play i s con s i d e r e d s e p a r a t e l y . However, s i n c e s i m i l a r themes appear i n a l l h i s p l a y s , t h i s chapter i n f a c t explores the body of Fry's plays as a whole. I t perceives each play as a p a r t i c  u l a r dimension of what i s i n a l l h i s p l a y s . The Appendix e s t a b l i s h e s the l i t e r a r y relevance of Fry's plays t o the t h e a t r e as both r e l i g i o u s drama and verse drama, and i t concludes by d e s c r i b i n g the relevance of r e l i g i o n and poetry t o a type of romance drama. Fry's work as a whole r e f l e c t s the c o n v i c t i o n that romance and comedy are u n i v e r s a l , and th a t they can only be found a f t e r the t r a g i c experience. There i s something beyond tragedy and Fry c a l l s i t comedy. In reaching out t o i t , he says, one has t o pass through tragedy f i r s t . PREFACE The proximity to death and the interplay of the forces of l i f e , death, and love which express the clash of freedom and authority make an inextricable tangle of plot i n each of Christopher Fry's plays. The development of action, which amounts to l i t t l e more than the progress of these forces, i s a symphonic poem of motifs, of themes "which appear, reappear and combine" as an inner d i a l e c t i c of "the c o n f l i c t between the life-and-death-wish, f a i t h and scepticism, r e l i g i o n and materialism."" 1" The resolution of these c o n f l i c t s and the conclusion of these plays l i e i n the nature of comedy and the presence of the comic s p i r i t which do not d i f f e r from tragedy, but are born out of i t . I know that when I set about writing a comedy the idea presents i t s e l f to me f i r s t of a l l as tragedy. The characters press on to the theme with a l l t h e i r d i v i  sions and p e r p l e x i t i e s heavy about them; they are a l  ready entered f o r the race to doom, and good and e v i l are an infermal tangle skinning the fingers that t r y to unravel them. If the characters were not q u a l i f i e d f o r tragedy there would be no comedy, and to some ex tent I have to cross the one before I can l i g h t on the other. For Fry, tragedy and comedy d i f f e r from one another as ex perience does from intuition--they are not d i f f e r e n t , only complementary approaches to the same issues and i n t e g r a l Derek Stanford, Christopher Fry: An Appreciation (London: Peter N e v i l l , 1952), p. 213. 2 Christopher Fry, "Comedy," Tulane Drama Review, IV, i i i (March, I960), p. 7S. i i i p a r t s of the wholeness and i n t e g r i t y of s p i r i t i n Fry's a r t . Tragedy's experience hammers against the mystery t o make a breach which would admit the whole triumphant answer. I n t u i t i o n has no such p o t e n t i a l . . . . Laughter may seem to be only l i k e an e x h a l a t i o n of a i r , but out of t h a t a i r we came; i n the beginning we i n h a l e d i t ; i t i s t r u t h , not a f a n t a s y , a t r u t h v o l u b l e of good which comedy s t o u t l y maintains.3 In t h i s t h e s i s I would l i k e t o consider i n a l l Fry's plays the i n t e r p l a y of the f o r c e s of l i f e , death, and l o v e , and the i n t u i t i v e v i s i o n w i t h which they are r e s o l v e d w i t h i n the context of Quaker f a i t h and p r a c t i c e . The path Quakers f o l l o w i s a s i m i l a r one of progress from the c o n f l i c t and d i v i s i o n i n l i f e t o r e s o l u t i o n and u n i t y , as i n t u i t i o n i s born out of experience, and as i t grows above experience t o t r u t h . The t e s t f o r membership should not be d o c t r i n a l agree ment, nor adherence t o c e r t a i n t e s t i m o n i e s , but evidence of s i n c e r e seeking and s t r i v i n g f o r the Truth, together w i t h an understanding of the l i n e s along which F r i e n d s are seeking t h a t Truth.4 I t i s not necessary t h a t we should know a l l mysteries before we begin. . . . [ C h r i s t ' s d i s c i p l e s ] d i d not understand at f i r s t the mystic union w i t h t h e i r Master to which they were c a l l e d , but they f o l l o w e d Him, and as they f o l l o w e d , there was g r a d u a l l y unfolded t o them the f u l n e s s of His l o v e and l i f e . I f we begin where they began, and f o l l o w as they f o l l o w e d , we s h a l l end where they ended.5 As f a r as d i s t i n g u i s h i n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s go these i d e a l s do no more than place Quakerism w i t h i n the C h r i s t i a n t r a d i t i o n . •*Ibid., pp. 73-79. ^ C h r i s t i a n F a i t h And P r a c t i c e In The Experience Of The  S o c i e t y of F r i e n d s , London Y e a r l y Meeting of the R e l i g i o u s S o c i e t y of Friends (London: Headley Brothers, 1963) , Sec. 368. I b i d . , Sec. 399. i v However, the Quaker p o s i t i o n can be defined c l e a r l y w i t h i n t h i s t r a d i t i o n . I t l i e s w i t h i n the Protestant movement by a demonstration of the r e a l i t y of i n d i v i d u a l r e l i g i o n , wor s h i p , and i n s i g h t , which was behind the break w i t h C a t h o l i c  ism. But i t demonstrates t h i s r e a l i t y more t r u l y by h o l d i n g to n o n - s e c t a r i a n , n o n - d o c t r i n a l ways. In the p u r s u i t of the i n n e r l i f e i t i s d i s t i n g u i s h e d from C a t h o l i c m y s t i c a l i n  t u i t i o n through the i n d i v i d u a l ' s v i s i o n a r y p o t e n t i a l outside the body of the Church (by means of h i s r e l i g i o u s approaches towards c r e a t i o n and the s a n c t i t y of a l l forms of l i f e ) , i n s t e a d of through the s p i r i t u a l myth and dogmatic b e l i e f of the C a t h o l i c Church. As opposed t o these s p i r i t u a l q u a l i  t i e s Quakers are a l s o d i s t i n c t i v e as an a c t i v e l y C h r i s t i a n people because the whole p r i n c i p l e of t h e i r l i v e s and b e l i e f s i s t o show the r e a l i t y of C h r i s t i a n love and deeds i n an everyday w o r l d — " t h e y have taken the l e a d i n showing t h a t the love of C h r i s t can overcome the s p i r i t of hate and the d e s i r e f o r revenge."^ The inner growth of the i n d i v i d u a l f o l l o w s a way of l i f e t h a t attempts t o perceive the C h r i s t i a n mystery i n the d a i l y world of h i s own experience. In Quakerism there are two complementary movements, w i t h  drawal t o an inward Source of Truth and r e t u r n t o a c t i o n i n the world. The f i r s t i s Greek i n i t s r e l i g i o u s em p h a s i s , the second, Hebrew. Quakerism i s both contempla t i v e and a c t i v e , both metaphysical and e t h i c a l , not be cause i t has combined the two i n a c o n s i s t e n t system of W. R. Inge, Mysticism i n R e l i g i o n (London: Hutchinson's U n i v e r s i t y L i b r a r y ) , pp. 128-129• V thought but because i t has combined them through experience.7 Quakerism i s a s p i r i t of endeavour only and nothing e l s e . The main reason f o r con s i d e r i n g the p a r a l l e l s between the Quaker p o s i t i o n and Fry's plays i s th a t i n both the p h i l o s o p h i c a l and metaphysical approaches t o the mystery of c r e a t i o n and t h e i r expressions of a cosmic v i s i o n are a l i k e . Even i n h i s comedies Fry pursues the s e c u l a r and pagan ex pressions of these same themes w i t h a consistency and i n t e n  s i t y no l e s s than h i s r e l i g i o u s seriousness i n the " r e l i g i o u s " p l a y s . He says, " i f any are r e l i g i o u s they are a l l r e l i g i o u s , and i f any are pagan they are a l l pagan. They r e f l e c t the 8 world I know, as f a r as my understanding has taken me." In Quakerism these preoccupations are j u s t i f i e d by the s i m u l  taneously sacred and s e c u l a r nature of Quaker w a y s — t h e com b i n a t i o n of in n e r s p i r i t u a l l i f e and the outward r e t u r n t o a c t i o n i n the world. Quakerism has never accepted a d i s t i n c t i o n between the sacred and the s e c u l a r . . . . The u n i t y of the sacred and the s e c u l a r i n v o l v e s t h i s i m p l i c a t i o n : that the sacramental q u a l i t y . . . depends upon the s p i r i t and i n t e n t i o n of the persons concerned, not upon any atmos phere or circumstance provided from outside.9 Some explanation f o r these s i m i l a r concerns w i t h the mystery l i e s i n the b i o g r a p h i c a l evidence of a s t r o n g l y 7 Howard H. B r i n t o n , Friends f o r 300 Years (New York: Harper, 1952), p. 58. 8 Christopher F r y , Three Plays (London: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, I960), p. v i i . a ^Towards a Quaker View of Sex (London: Friends Home Ser v i c e Committee, 1964), pp. 11-12. v i r e l i g i o u s f a m i l y background. Fry's f a t h e r , Charles -John H a r r i s Hammond, was an a r c h i t e c t u n t i l he gave hi m s e l f up to work f o r the poor i n the B r i s t o l slums as an Anglican lay-preacher. Fry was born i n 1907 and he was only three when h i s f a t h e r d i e d . However, Derek S t a n f o r d , a f r i e n d and c r i t i c of F r y ' s , remarks that Fry r e t a i n e d deep and powerful impressions of h i s f a t h e r . The f a i t h and p e r s o n a l i t y of h i s parent had always meant much t o him, and c o n s t i t u t e d a k i n d of sub conscious i d e a l . 1 0 His mother, Emma Marguerite, " a l s o a religious-minded woman," was a Fry (a f a m i l y of long Quaker sta n d i n g ) . At the age of eighteen Fry adopted h i s mother's f a m i l y name ( f o r euphony, he s a i d ) and the f a m i l y ' s r e l i g i o u s attachments t o the Soc i e t y of Friends (Quakers). Stanford comments on a c e r t a i n Quakerliness i n Fry's temperament i n l a t e r y ears, when he s t a t e s , that F r y , who sent h i s son t o a Quaker p u b l i c s c h o o l , has something of the Quaker about him t o t h i s day. Indeed, i t i s probably the unusual combination of an e a r l y t h e a t r i c a l background w i t h i n h e r i t e d Quaker tendencies that c o n s t i t u t e the d i s t i n c t i v e n e s s of h i s temperament; a nature both grave and gay, contemplative and s o c i a b l e ; and, above a l l , enamoured of quiet and peace.H There were two aunts important i n Fry's upbringing too, "both r e l i g i o u s women; one of whom e a r l y i n s p i r e d him w i t h a love of E n g l i s h l i t e r a t u r e by reading the prose of Bunyan t o him." "^Derek Sta n f o r d , Christopher Fry (London: Longmans, Green, 1954), p. 11. 11 12 x x I b i d . x ^ I b i d . V l l L a t e r on, when the Second World War was de c l a r e d , F r y , a con s c i e n t i o u s o b j e c t o r , served i n the Pioneer Gorps, a non- combatant arm of the Forces. S t a n f o r d , whose acquaintance w i t h Fry stems from these years i n the Forces, comments again on Fry's temperament as "Quaker-like" when he describes two aspects of i t , namely, the preserved " f a c u l t y f o r some t h i n g a k i n t o r e l i g i o u s m e d i t a t i o n , " and, opposed t o i t , an other q u a l i t y i n him which made "no attempt t o avoid p a r t i c i - 13 p a t i o n i n communal matters." When, w i t h t h i s t h e s i s i n mind, I wrote t o Fry about Quaker elements i n h i s dramas, he r e p l i e d , " I t h i n k you may be r i g h t i n f i n d i n g some p a r a l l e l s between the plays and Quaker mysticism: though t h i s i s f o r you t o d e c i d e . " x ^ This t h e s i s i s , t h e r e f o r e , an attempt t o examine the closeness of these p a r a l l e l s and determine the v a l i d i t y of the comparison beyond the bounds of s u p e r f i c i a l s i m i l a r i t i e s and i n c i d e n t a l p a r a l l e l s . I t i s my b e l i e f t h a t the b a s i s f o r t h i s comparison i s fundamental i n both Fry and Quakerism. Fundamental t o both i s the r e l i g i o u s concern w i t h l i f e and u n i v e r s a l s . I t i s not a concern t h a t makes the formal r e l i g i o u s d i s t i n c t i o n J between sacred and s e c u l a r , but a concern w i t h the bas i c 13 ^ S t a n f o r d , Christopher F r y : An A p p r e c i a t i o n , p. 19. ^ C h r i s t o p h e r Fry, see h i s l e t t e r t o I a i n K i r k a l d y - W i l l i s dated August 14, 1964. The l e t t e r i s xeroxed and presented as Appendix B. v i i i p r i n c i p l e s or s p i r i t t h a t l i e behind both the sacred and s e c u l a r a l i k e . Chapter one w i l l consider these preoccupa t i o n s w i t h the "mystery of e x i s t e n c e , " and a l s o the formal d i r e c t i o n s they both take i n expressing themselves. The way of l i f e Quakers observe i s one of c o n t i n u a l enlightenment. The r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of every i n d i v i d u a l i s education ( i n the broadest sense) and self-improvement, and i t i s t h i s concern that provokes t h e i r b a s i c approach t o l i f e — t o promote understanding and u n i t y where before there was ignorance and d i v i s i o n . Fry's plays a l s o f o l l o w t h i s b a s i c p a t t e r n . Chapter two, t h e r e f o r e , examines each play s e p a r a t e l y i n terms of i t s c o n f l i c t s and d i v i s i o n , and i t takes the play's r e s o l u t i o n i n u n i t y , drawing on those p r i n  c i p l e s t h a t a r i s e from the fundamental p o s i t i o n of Fry and Quakerism. The t h i r d element both have i n common i s the place of experience and the progress of i n t u i t i o n from i t . In both, experience i s personal and i n d i v i d u a l , the centre of tragedy i n F r y and the centre of l i f e f o r Quakers. From i t comes i n t u i t i o n , the harmony and u n i t y that comes from c o n f l i c t , and the v i s i o n of the mystery. E i t h e r way i t i s a p r i n c i p l e ' present i n both chapters. My i n t e n t i o n i n t h i s t h e s i s i s t o speak of Quakerliness s i d e by s i d e w i t h Fry's thought and h i s plays s o l e l y f o r the increased understanding i t may g i v e of h i s work. I b e l i e v e t h a t by examining the p a r a l l e l s between Quakerism and Fry i t i x i s p o s s i b l e t o a s s i s t an a p p r e c i a t i o n of h i s work and t o understand i t s s i g n i f i c a n c e w i t h i n a frame of reference f a r l a r g e r than t h a t of h i s p l a y s . I do not wish t o e s t a b l i s h any impression t h a t Quakerism has been an i n f l u e n c e on Fry, f o r t h a t would immediately presume on the l i t e r a r y q u a l i t y of Fry's dramas. F u r t h e r , i t would c o n t r a d i c t the s p i r i t of Quakerism, implying that i t i s c r e d a l and a u t h o r i t a r i a n , seeking i t s h e a l t h and growth i n conversion and evangelism. The concept "Quaker" i s deceptive, only a l a b e l — t h e name d e r i s i v e l y g iven t o a group of people b e l i e v i n g i n a s p i r i t  u a l way of l i f e t o which George Fox's words gave expression. Unfortunately as a l a b e l i t tends t o obscure the process by c o n f i n i n g t h i s concept t o these people and t h e i r approach t o the circumstances of l i f e . In t r u e r p e r s p e c t i v e we f i n d Quakers f r e e l y acknowledging other forms of mysticism and other agents of concern f o r l i f e and the c o n d i t i o n of man, but they do not c a l l them Quakerism. There always have been c e r t a i n groups th a t have i n common a concept of the value of l i f e , a concept of r e l i g i o n as a n o n - d o c t r i n a l s p i r i t of endeavour, and a d e s i r e t o perceive g r e a t e r r e a l i t i e s and the meaning behind the forms we accept as commonplaces i n the world around us. Quakers are one of the f a m i l i e s who t h r i v e on these concepts. Fry became a member of t h i s f a m i l y , but tha t i s not t o say that i t has i n f l u e n c e d him. I t i s r a t h e r as though he has i n f l u e n c e d i t , f o r i t i s not f o r the f a m i l y t o t e l l i t s members how t o behave. I t i s X r a t h e r f o r us t o know tha t f a m i l y from the way i t s i n d i v i d  u a l members a c t . Whether they have anything i n common w i t h others i s a commentary on l i f e and does not t e l l us of i n  f l u e n c e s . The problem of t h i s t h e s i s i s t h e r e f o r e , a ques t i o n of p e r s p e c t i v e . Just as the way an i n d i v i d u a l behaves and a c t s expresses the t r u e r l i v i n g nature behind h i s ph i l o s o p h i e s (or comments on the essence of the group i f he acknowledges c e r t a i n common p u r s u i t s ) so Fry's plays are a commentary on Quakerism. But t h i s i s only i f we speak of i n f l u e n c e s . I can only wish that the reader be c o n t i n u a l l y aware of my own pe r s p e c t i v e i n t h i s t h e s i s . I am concerned only w i t h Fry's p e r s p e c t i v e of l i f e , and b e l i e v e t h a t the e s s e n t i a l s p i r i t of h i s poetry l i e s t h e r e i n . F u r ther, t o my mind, the Quaker p o s i t i o n speaks of t h i s same perspect i v e and c a l l s on the same inner f i r e s of experience. Though t h i s would seem to equate the p o e t i c and r e l i g i o u s experiences i n d i s c r i m i  n a t e l y , the connotations of these two words i d e n t i f y the two aspects of t h i s experience very d i s t i n c t l y . " P o e t i c a l i t y " i d e n t i f i e s the l i t e r a r y and a e s t h e t i c q u a l i t i e s of the ex perience i n an a r t i s t such as Fry, whereas, " r e l i g i o s i t y " bespeaks the p h i l o s o p h i c a l and t h e o l o g i c a l q u a l i t i e s of a s i m i l a r experience i n someone l i k e a Quaker. Poetry and r e l i g i o n are i d e n t i c a l i n essence though they r e l a t e themselves d i f f e r e n t l y t o p r a c t i c a l l i f e : poetry by a dramatic p r e s e n t a t i o n of values and r e  l i g i o n by precepts and a code.15 X->A.N. Wil d e r , Modern Poetry and the C h r i s t i a n T r a d i  t i o n (New York: Charles S c r i b n e r ' s , 1952), p. 13. x i F i n a l l y , my j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r presuming on the p a r a l l e l s between Fry and Quakerism i s that at the age of eighteen Fry wished to acknowledge what h i s l i f e had i n common with them by joining them. The major argument of t h i s thesis i s a l i t e r a r y one, since i t s concern i s with themes and patterns o f ideas, or basic truths, and with the way these things colour the general mood of each play. Though i t does not bear direct relevance to these l i t e r a r y concerns Appendix A i s presented as an attempt to return to the perspective I wish the reader to be aware of. It i s an attempt to give Fry's plays some perspective as r e l i g i o u s drama and verse drama, as well as to establish the rel a t i o n s h i p between a form of romance drama used by Fry, and the affirmation of the mystery of existence (both i n Fry's plays and i n Quakerism). TABLE GF CONTENTS Chapter Page I. THE MYSTERY OF EXISTENCE IN FRY AND QUAKERISM . 1 I I . THE RESOLUTION OF CONFLICT IN CHRISTOPHER FRY'S PLAYS AND THE QUAKER PARALLELS 21 The Boy With A Cart (23) A Phoenix Too Frequent (27) The Lady's Not For Burning (33) Venus Observed (38) The Dark Is Light Enough (44) The Firstborn (52) Thor With Angels (5#) A Sleep Of Prisoners (66) Curtmantle (73) APPENDIX A. THE POETIC-RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE AND A CONTEMPORARY FORM OF ROMANCE DRAMA IN FRY'S PLAYS 82 APPENDIX B. LETTER FROM CHRISTOPHER FRY CONCERNING THIS THESIS -. - . • 94 WORKS CONSULTED 96 CHAPTER I THE MYSTERY OF EXISTENCE IN FRY AND QUAKERISM C e n t r a l t o C h r i s t o p h e r F r y ' s p l a y s i s t h e i r concern w i t h the mystery of e x i s t e n c e and the moments of sudden i n t u i t i v e cosmic v i s i o n t h a t t r a n s c e n d the commonplace as they r i s e out of c o n f l i c t , c o n t r a d i c t i o n and paradox. His non-dramatic works o f f e r an e x p l a n a t i o n and an e l a b o r a t i o n , f o r they are preoccupied w i t h the ph i l o s o p h y of t h i s theme, and they t h e o r i s e on the way poetry can i n c o r p o r a t e i t i n t o a form of drama t h a t at once expresses h i s v i s i o n and con veys h i s message t o the t h e a t r e . Quakerism a l s o p r e s e n t s an approach t o the concerns i t has w i t h an i n t u i t i o n of c r e a  t i o n . I t s i d e a l s c a l l on man t o seek an understanding of the s p i r i t manifest behind any form of experience. In t h i s chapter I w i l l c o n s i d e r the nature of these views and any f u r t h e r i s s u e s t h a t a r i s e out of them, such as F r y ' s s p e c i  f i c views on comedy, tragedy and poetry i n the t h e a t r e , or the combination of the i n n e r l i f e o f the Quaker meeting and i t s a c t i v e e x p r e s s i o n s of humanitarian concern. "How l o s t , how amazed, how miraculous we a r e , " says Fry.'' Over and over a g a i n he i n s i s t s on the complete mystery of c r e a t i o n , the newness of each experience and the ^ C h r i s t o p h e r F r y , "How L o s t , How Amazed, How Mi r a c u l o u s We Are," Theatre A r t s , XXXVI (August, 1952), 27-2 s i n g u l a r d i s t i n c t i v e n e s s of man's perceptions. The aware ness' of these sensations i s capable of p r e c i p i t a t i n g man's awakening out of the world of custom, h a b i t , and order (that he has q u i t e n a t u r a l l y created of the commonplaces around him^ i f only he w i l l p erceive t h e i r s i n g u l a r i t y . Man sud denly faces c r e a t i o n w i t h i n the s m a l l world of h i s e x p e r i  ence and i s l o s t . The inescapable dramatic s i t u a t i o n f o r us a l l i s th a t we have no ide a what our s i t u a t i o n i s . We may be mor t a l . What then? We may be immortal. What then? We are plunged i n t o an existence f a n t a s t i c t o the point of nightmare, and however hard we r a t i o n a l i s e , or how ever f i r m our r e l i g i o u s f a i t h , however c l o s e l y we dog the heels of science or wheel among the s t a r s of mysticism, we cannot r e a l l y make head or t a i l of i t . [But] we get used t o i t . We get broken i n t o i t so g r a d u a l l y we s c a r c e l y n o t i c e i t . . . .2 But i t i s i n the moment of l o s s t h a t man i s c l o s e s t t o the mystery, f o r he sees i t and i s overwhelmed by i t ; he i s l o s t i n i t without i d e n t i t y ; he i s part of a nameless c r e a t i o n simultaneously possessing and not possessing order and reason. And now I come i n t o e x i s t e n c e , and I see my hand l y i n g on the t a b l e i n f r o n t of me, and th a t one t h i n g alone, the f i r s t impact of a hand, i s more dramatic than Hamlet. What on earth happens, then, when the r e s t of the world comes t o me, when the f u l l phantasmagoria of the common place breaks over my head? . . . we have only t o s t a r t on a catalogue t o know how hopeless our grasp i s . Thank God we are no more than p a r t l y aware of a l i t t l e at a time. R e a l i t y i s i n c r e d i b l e , r e a l i t y i s a wh i r l w i n d . What we c a l l r e a l i t y i s a f a l s e god, the d u l l eye of custom.3 2 I b i d . I b i d . "There i s always something new under the sun, because a mystery never ages," says F r y a l i t t l e f u r t h e r on i n the same a r t i c l e . ^ "Our d i f f i c u l t y i s t o be a l i v e t o the new ness . . . t o be a b l e t o be o l d and new a t one and the same 5 t i m e . " The experience of c r e a t i o n ' s mystery i s not the r e s u l t of a s e a r c h , but a r e a l i s a t i o n , s i n c e man l i v e s i n i t and s i n c e i t and anything i t achieves are the same. Though Fry e x u l t s more i n the mystery, the Quaker i s t a l k i n g about the same way of l i f e t h a t expresses t h i s j o y , when he c o n s i d e r s the p e r s o n a l experience of an i n t u i t i o n of the t r u t h . A l l t r u t h i s a shadow except the l a s t , except the utmost yet every T r u t h i s t r u e i n i t s k i n d . I t i s substance i n i t s own p l a c e , though i t be but a shadow i n another p l a c ( f o r i t i s but a r e f l e c t i o n from an i n t e n s e r substance); and the shadow i s t r u e shadow, as the substance i s t r u e substance.6 Quakerly l i v i n g i s the p e r s o n a l e x p r e s s i o n of the i n d i v i d u a l s p i r i t u a l enlightenment and the i n c r e a s e d understanding of l i f e i n both h i s own l i f e and i n the i n s t i t u t i o n s of s o c i a l concern and w e l f a r e . ^ I b i d . , p. 93 . ''Ibid. ^ C h r i s t i a n F a i t h And P r a c t i c e In The Experience Of The  S o c i e t y Of F r i e n d s , London Y e a r l y Meeting of the R e l i g i o u s Society of F r i e n d s (London: Headley B r o t h e r s , 1963) , a quote from Isaac Penington (1653) g i v e n i n some p r e l i m i n a r y r e  marks "To The Reader." F u r t h e r r e f e r e n c e s t o t h i s source w i l l be t o C h r i s t i a n F a i t h f o l l o w e d by the paragraph l o c a  t i o n s i n c e the book has no page numbering. 4 Examples drawn from the records of t h i s p a r t i c u l a r r e l i g i o u s movement show how r e l i g i o n as such possesses an important s o c i a l function i n creating s o c i a l organ isms. It i s also evident that the divine S p i r i t per forms the function of producing unity within the i n  d i v i d u a l as well as within the group. I f not r e s i s t e d , the same S p i r i t i s able to overcome a l l disunity every where among and within men, and between man and God.7 The benefit to s p i r i t u a l l i f e and community a c t i v i t y i s mutual since Quaker's s p i r i t u a l l i f e reciprocates by drawing on ex perience f o r i t s appreciations of the "divine mysteries." A constant exchange i s made between body and soul, mind and s p i r i t , experience, reason and i n t u i t i o n . Man finds himself i n the t w i l i g h t zone of reason, poised between two worlds, an upper world of Light, and a lower world of Darkness, a S p i r i t u a l world which i s superhuman and a material world which i s subhuman. He i s free to center h i s l i f e on one of the three; he can l i v e by the Light, he can l i v e by human reason, or he can l i v e at the mercy of his sensual cravings. His body i s animal, his mind r a t i o n a l , and the Light Within him i s divine. He i s never without a l l three though the three are so intimately related that i t i s impossible to distinguish between them sharply. Much depends on t h e i r r e l a t i o n  ship. The Light of Truth should be a guide to reason and reason should help i n s t i n c t i n a properly ordered life.° Insight into the divine essence moving i n creation and manifest within every aspect of existence i s the same as the understanding of s p i r i t or p r i n c i p l e that l i e s behind form or any perception of the mysterious. The central fact of Quakerism as a group mysticism i s the uniting power of the divine s p i r i t integrating the group as an organic whole, and the heart of Quaker theology has grown out of actual ex- 7 'Howard H. Brinton, Friends For 300 Years (New York: Harper, 1952), p. xiv. 8 Ibid., p. 51. 5 perience. Furthermore, t h i s d i r e c t contact w i t h a p r i n c i p l e t h a t was before a l l s e c t s c a r r i e s the same s i g n i f i c a n c e t o  day as i t d i d t o George Fox and the f i r s t F r i e n d s . The S o c i e t y of Friends arose from a personal experience of d i r e c t encounter w i t h God as revealed i n Jesus C h r i s t . The c o n v i c t i o n t h a t C h r i s t can speak t o the c o n d i t i o n of every man spread r a p i d l y among the seekers of the seven teenth century and has remained at the centre of the So c i e t y ' s f a i t h and p r a c t i c e . 9 Since t h i s f i r s t experience of Fox, Friends have considered man the c h i l d of c r e a t i o n , i n him l i e s l i f e and the s p i r i t of the u n i v e r s e . To understand and l i v e and grow i n the a p p r e c i  a t i o n of t h i s mystery and the perception of t h i s phenomenon i s the duty of man, as Quakers see i t . W i l l i a m Penn expressed t h i s understanding w i t h i n the C h r i s t i a n experience when he declared I t i s not o p i n i o n , or s p e c u l a t i o n , or notions of what i s tr u e . . . though never so soundly worded, th a t . . . makes a man a t r u e b e l i e v e r or a t r u e C h r i s t i a n . But i t i s a conformity of mind and p r a c t i c e t o the w i l l of God, i n a l l h o l i n e s s of conversation, according t o the d i c  t a t e s of t h i s Divine p r i n c i p l e of L i g h t and L i f e i n the s o u l which denotes a person t r u l y a c h i l d of God.10 Though Fry r e j o i c e s i n c r e a t i o n and the i n t u i t i o n of the mystery (not j u s t from the point of view of l i f e , but of death and d e s t r u c t i o n t o o ) , he pursues the i s s u e i n t o r e l i g i o u s f e r v o u r and s o c i a l consciousness, f o r death, d e s t r u c t i o n , d i s  ease and squalor are a l l of the law of l i f e : — n t h e c r e a t i v e ^ C h r i s t i a n F a i t h , I n t r o d u c t i o n , para, 1 . 1 0 I b i d . , "To The Reader," para. 3 , from W i l l i a m Penn (1692). 6 order contained i n the apparent anarchy of l i f e . " x x Yet i t i s only the mystery a r i s i n g from these i n d i v i d u a l i s s u e s that w i l l l e a d us t o the p e r s p e c t i v e of the v i s i o n . I t i s the imagination which makes the world seem new t o us everyday. . . . I t i s the imagination which awakens the dry bones of any subject t o s i n g about the mystery of c r e a t i o n . . . . You w i l l f i n d i n the s t o r y of man's l i f e on earth great wonders perceived by the s p i r i t , and unless you l i v e by these wonders you l i v e , i t seems to me, i n an u l t i m a t e l y aimless world. . . . But the t h i n g s of the mind can be learned only by the mind, and the t h i n g s of the s p i r i t can be learned only by the a t t e n t i v e s p i r i t . Without t h a t a t t e n t i o n you are l e s s than h a l f y o u r s e l f . With i t , you w i l l f i n d your know ledge, your im a g i n a t i o n , your r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h other people, everything you do, t a k i n g on new importance and a g r e a t e r value.12 Here Fry i s saying what Quakerism has to say about the n a t u r a l growth and education of the i n d i v i d u a l t o an understanding of h i s p o s i t i o n , a process t h a t r e l i e s h e a v i l y on the conscience (that of God i n everyman) and the a s s i s t a n c e given t o s e n s i  b i l i t y by experience. This path of t r u t h and enlightenment leads ever outward i n t o c r e a t i o n from t h a t small spark w i t h i n . Community, e q u a l i t y , freedom, and harmony become c o n d i t i o n s t h a t a l l o w men t o see themselves, not j u s t goals t h a t b r i n g happiness and they become the s t a r t i n g point f o r the i n d i v i d  u a l ' s search f o r communication and u n i t y w i t h i n and without. These c o n d i t i o n s do not m a t e r i a l i s e out of the i m p o s i t i o n s of e x t e r n a l law and order but grow from the i n n e r s p i r i t . C hristopher F r y , " T a l k i n g t o Henry," The Twentieth  Century, GLXIX (February, 1961), 187. 12 Christopher F r y , "Gn Keeping The Sense of Wonder," Vogue, CXXVII (January, 1956), 158. 7 The empathy comes from a deep reverence f o r l i f e and an acknowledgement of i t s s a n c t i t y . E d u c a t i o n — t h e i n t e n s i f y  i n g of the l i g h t of c o n s c i e n c e — i s , t h e r e f o r e , the key t o experience and any i n t u i t i o n i t may f o s t e r . The a t t i t u d e of the S o c i e t y of F r i e n d s towards education has been determined by t h e i r b e l i e f i n the Inner L i g h t . Holding as they do t h a t t h e r e i s something of the d i v i n e i n everyman, they have regarded e d u c a t i o n ( i n the broad est sense) as the developing of t h a t D i v i n e Seed, or the f a n n i n g i n t o a flame of t h a t D i v i n e Spark. . . . To F r i e n d s , t h e r e f o r e , e d u c a t i o n i s an i n t e n s e l y r e l i g i o u s t h i n g ; i t means the t r a i n i n g and development of the s p i r i t u a l l i f e , the l i b e r a t i n g of the D i v i n e t h a t i s w i t h i n us.13 In h i s l e t t e r "The P l a y of Ideas," F r y r e i t e r a t e s a l l t h a t has been s t a t e d so f a r , when he t e l l s us t h a t "the mic robe i s no l e s s miraculous than the whole s o l a r system," and t h a t "we can't comprehend e i t h e r of them.""^ But though "the u l t i m a t e answer t o most of our problems . . . [may be] i n the growth towards m a t u r i t y of each i n d i v i d u a l , " he poses the Quaker means (above) of approaching the mystery, per c e i v i n g the v i s i o n , and understanding c r e a t i o n as the answer to the problems o f today i n p a r t i c u l a r , and suggests t h a t man— may be so immersed i n the immediate s t r u g g l e t h a t he becomes l o s t t o the l a r g e r s t r u g g l e of which t h i s i s a moment. At such a time he needs a l l h i s senses and p e r c e p t i o n s t o keep him aware of what h i s e x i s t e n c e r e  p r e s e n t s . He needs every p r o p e r t y of mind he possesses, a l l those a t t r i b u t e s which most c u r i o u s l y d i s t i n g u i s h J C h r i s t i a n F a i t h , s e c t i o n 442. " ^ C h r i s t o p h e r F r y , "The P l a y of Ideas," New Statesman  and N a t i o n , XXXIX ( A p r i l 22 , 1950) , 458. 8 him from h i s f e l l o w animals—compassion, l a u g h t e r , con cern beyond h i s own immediate neighbourhood, a sense of mystery, of h i s own incompleteness, and much more. He needs t o t h i n k and f e e l i n d e t a i l as deeply as he t h i n k s and f e e l s i n g e n e r a l , as b e f i t s an i n h a b i t a n t of a u n i  verse which deals i n m i l l i o n s of l i g h t - y e a r s and m i l l i o n s of microbes equally.15 Though the views of Fry and the Quakers on the paradox of haphazard l i f e which yet contains a p a t t e r n of anatomy seem t o be the same, Fry r e l e g a t e s h i s views t o the drama, using i t as the medium f o r h i s message t o the t h e a t r e ' s audience. The workings of the s p i r i t i n the m a t e r i a l universe are a c l a r i f i c a t i o n , not a m y s t i f i c a t i o n of human l i f e . How f a r the playwright can gucceed i n expressing t h i s i s a l i f e t i m e job f o r him.16 His essays and a r t i c l e s seem t o focus the d i s c u s s i o n on three i s s u e s i n p a r t i c u l a r , namely, the relevance of the dramatic p r i n c i p l e s of tragedy and comedy t o experience and i n t u i t i o n , the r o l e of the t h e a t r e , and the appropriateness of p o e t i c drama. In one respect a play i s a conce n t r a t i o n of l i f e i n t o a b r i e f moment of time and a c t i o n , complete i n i t s e l f . I t t r i e s t o say something above and beyond i t s e l f , so t h a t i t w i l l not be j u s t a r e f l e c t i o n of r e a l i t y , v o i c e l e s s i n i t s i m i t a t i o n . The t r a d i t i o n s around comedy and tragedy are, i n t h e i r own way, an attempt t o phrase the dramatist's 1 5 I b i d . " ^Christopher Fry. "Author's S t r u g g l e , " The New York  Times (February 6, 1955), Sec. I I , i i i , 1. 9 opinions and impressions i n the frame of a convention. They are r e a l l y one of the fundamental means by which the outlook of a playwright, the atmosphere of the time, and the comments of one on the other can best be expressed. Fry expresses h i s own views on the nature of tragedy and comedy as he sees them with considerable conviction i n a good number of h i s non- dramatic writings. Towards the end of h i s a r t i c l e "Comedy," he says, "I have come, you may think, to the verge of saying that comedy i s greater than tragedy. Gn the verge I stand 17 and go no f u r t h e r . " Standing l o s t i n wonder at creation, he interpolates tragedy and comedy t o g e t h e r — t h e i r d i f f e r  ence being "the difference between experience and i n t u i t i o n . " 18 He goes on to explain the connection. In the experience we s t r i v e against every condition of our animal l i f e : against death, against the f r u s t r a t i o n of ambition, against the i n s t a b i l i t y of human love. In the i n t u i t i o n we t r u s t the arduous e c c e n t r i c i t i e s we're born to, and see the oddness of a creature who has never got acclimatised to being created. Laughter i n c l i n e s me to know that man i s e s s e n t i a l s p i r i t ; his body, with i t s functions and accidents and f r u s t r a t i o n s i s endlessly quaint and remarkable to him; and though comedy accepts our position i n time, i t barely accepts our posture i n space.19 "Tragedy's experience hammers against the mystery," but "com edy i s an escape not from t r u t h , but from despair into 20 f a i t h . " Fry may be t a l k i n g about drama but h i s views on 17 Christopher Fry, "Comedy," Tulane Drama Review, IV, i i i (March, I960), 78. l 8 I b i d . 1 9 I b i d . 20 y I b i d . , p. 77. 10 the connection between a r t and l i f e have the unmistakable r i n g of what he and the Quakers had t o say about man's sense of d i r e c t i o n i n e x i s t e n c e , and i t continues t o do so. Comedy's i n t u i t i o n i s a r e l i e f , and e l e v a t i o n away from tragedy's p a i n , where "every moment i s e t e r n i t y " t o the 21 l e v e l where "pain i s a f o o l s u f f e r e d g l a d l y . " In The Dark Is L i g h t Enough Fry takes a passage from J. H. Fabre t h a t seems t o t r a c e the p a r a d o x i c a l system of the order and the d i r e c t i o n of l i f e through chaos. The weather was stormy; the sky h e a v i l y clouded; the darkness . . . profound. . . . I t was across t h i s maze of l e a f a g e , and i n absolute darkness, t h a t the b u t t e r  f l i e s had t o f i n d t h e i r way i n order t o a t t a i n the end of t h e i r p i lgrimage. Under such c o n d i t i o n s the screech-owl would not dare t o forsake i t s o l i v e - t r e e . The b u t t e r f l y . . . goes f o r  ward without h e s i t a t i o n . . . . So w e l l i t d i r e c t s i t s tortuous f l i g h t t h a t , i n s p i t e of a l l the obstacles t o be evaded, i t a r r i v e s i n a s t a t e of p e r f e c t freshness, i t s great wings i n t a c t . . . . The darkness i s l i g h t enough. . . .22 But t h i s does more than speak f o r Richard Gettner i n t h a t p l a y . I t seems t o touch on the impression a l l Fry's plays c r e a t e . Here i s a sense of t h e i r i n e x o r a b l e , undeviating movement through comic chaos and t r a g i c f a t e t o a v i s i o n , t o a hope, or j u s t t o an end where chaos has order, where f a t e has purpose, where a l l movement stops. I t i s as though f r e e and haphazard organs show the whole p a t t e r n of t h e i r anatomy. I b i d . Facing p. 1. 11 There i s an angle of experience where the dark i s d i s  t i l l e d i n t o l i g h t ; e i t h e r here or h e r e a f t e r , i n or out of time: where our t r a g i c f a t e f i n d s i t s e l f w i t h per f e c t p i t c h , and goes s t r a i g h t t o the key which c r e a t i o n was composed i n . And comedy senses and reaches out t o t h i s experience. I t says, i n e f f e c t , t h a t , groaning as we may be, we move i n the f i g u r e of a dance, and, so moving, we t r a c e the o u t l i n e of the mystery.23 I f we say that Fry's dramas frame h i s thought, i t i s a l s o j u s t as t r u e t o say that they are very much a part of the t h e a t r e . He i n e x t r i c a b l y l i n k s h i s approach and h i s concept of drama t o the r o l e he sees the t h e a t r e p l a y i n g , f o r " i f a t h e a t r e i s a l i v e i t i s because i t belongs t o the l i f e outside i t s d o o r s . ^ 2 ^ I f the t h e a t r e can help us t o see ourselves and the world f r e s h l y , as though we had j u s t rounded the corner i n t o l i f e , i t w i l l be what entertainment should be, a h o l i d a y which sets us up t o continue l i v i n g at the top of our bent, and worth, I t h i n k , any amount of admoni t i o n and prophecy or the photographic l i k e n e s s of how we appear by custom.25 Fry f e e l s there i s no obstacle t o the f a c t that he i s Chris t i a n and t h a t much of h i s audience are non-believers f o r he seldom w r i t e s s p e c i f i c a l l y i n C h r i s t i a n terms. However, "what matters i s whether the audience has an i n t e r e s t i n l i f e , i n the f u l l e s t imaginative sense." 2^ 2-*Fry, "Comedy," Tulane Drama Review (March, I960), 77. Fry, "How L o s t , How Amazed, How Miraculous We Are," Theatre A r t s (August, 1952), 73. 2 5 I b i d . Fry, " T a l k i n g of Henry," The Twentieth Century (February, 1961), 189. 12 Then there i s the appropriateness of p o e t i c drama. I t i s , as i t were, the medium w i t h which he t r a n s f e r s h i s thought t o f u l f i l the purposes of entertainment i n the t h e a t r e . P o e t i c i n s p i r a t i o n i s a k i n t o m y s t i c a l experience i n i t s attempts t o grasp the mystery and beauty of n a t u r a l order through the use of l i v e image and f r e s h symbol, and 27 " r e l i g i o n n e c e s s a r i l y expresses i t s e l f i n poetry." In f a c t poetry i s the attempt t o achieve t h i s m y s t i c a l e x p e r i  ence i n a r t and a e s t h e t i c s . In Fry's words, The C h r i s t i a n f a i t h i s an expression of the human being, of what has happened t o him and i s s t i l l happening. We are a l l i n v o l v e d i n a process which i t i s simpler t o c a l l God than anything e l s e ; and i f I can manage to w r i t e a b o u t — n o t t h e o r i e s — b u t what i t f e e l s l i k e t o be a l i v i n g man i n f a c t , I am w r i t i n g about what every man f e e l s , even i f i n doubt or r e j e c t i o n . 2 8 I f we stop pretending f o r a moment t h a t we were born f u l l y dressed i n a s e r v i c e f l a t , and remember th a t we were born s t a r k naked i n t o a pandemonium of most un n a t u r a l phenomena, then we know how out of p l a c e , how l o s t , how amazed, how miraculous we are. And t h i s r e a l i t y i s the province of poetry.29 I t i s i n such remarks t h a t Fry c l i n c h e s t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p be tween r e l i g i o n and poetry as t h a t q u a l i t y of r e l i g i o u s verse drama i n a l l h i s p l a y s , f o r " i f any are r e l i g i o u s they are 30 a l l r e l i g i o u s . . . . " In f a c t he t e l l s us that we should 2 7Amos N. W i l d e r , Modern Poetry and The C h r i s t i a n T r a d i  t i o n (New York: Charles S c r i b n e r ' s , 1952), p. 9. F r y , " T a l k i n g of Henry," The Twentieth Century (February, 1961), 189. 29 'Fry, "How L o s t , How Amazed, How Miraculous We Are," Theatre A r t s (August, 1952), 73- 30 Christopher F r y , Three Plays (London: Oxford Univer s i t y P r e s s , I960), Foreword, v i i . 13 assume a l l t h i s when his plays are i n view. I only ask you to allow me to suppose an organic d i s c i  p l i n e , pattern or proportion i n the universe, evident i n a l l that we see, which i s a government uniting the greatest with the l e a s t , form with behaviour, natural event with h i s t o r i c event, which stamps i t s mark through us and through our perceptions, as the name of Brighton i s marked through a s t i c k of rock candy . . . I ask you to allow me to suppose a shaping but undog- matieal presence ' f e l t i n the blood, and along the heart, 1 which i s of a kind with the law of gravity, and the moral law, and the law which gives us two legs and not s i x . 31 As f o r the r e l a t i o n s h i p between poetry and the theatre, Fry declares that the theatre we should always be tr y i n g to achieve i s one where the persons and events have the recognisable ring of an old t r u t h , and yet seem to occur i n a lightning spasm of discovery. That, again, i s the province of poetry.32 He takes both back into drama i t s e l f when he adds, It i s a province of large extent; I see i t ranging from tragedy, through comedy of action and comedy of mood, even down to the playground of farce; and each of these has i t s own p a r t i c u l a r c o n f l i c t , tension, and shape, which, i f we look f o r them, w i l l point the way to the play's purpose.33 Poetry belongs to the realm of discussion and yet i t i s not out of place i n the theatre, f o r though "we go to the theatre to be interested by a story of l i v e s l i v i n g out t h e i r con f l i c t s i n a concentration of time," words give us a l a r g e r , Christopher Fry, "Why Verse," Playwrights on Play  wrighting, ed. Toby Cole (New York: H i l l and Wang, 1962), pp. 126-127. 32 Fry, "How Lost, How Amazed, How Miraculous We Are," Theatre Arts (August, 1952), 93. 3 3 I b i d . 14 or deeper, experience of a c t i o n . 3 ^ What poetry says i n the t h e a t r e rtis what i t i s , " and under the immediate sense l i e s an a p p r e c i a t i o n t h a t c a r r i e s the atmosphere of "a c e r t a i n experience of b e i n g , " whether the audience i s aware of i t 3 5 or not. y T h i s a p p r e c i a t i o n i s i n any case commensurate w i t h the purpose of drama, which presents u n i v e r s a l t r u t h s i n h e r e n t i n the c o n c e n t r a t i o n of time, p l a c e and person on the stage. Poetry a l s o c o n t r i b u t e s t o the t h e a t r e , F r y f e e l s , because i t i s the a c t i o n of l i s t e n i n g ; the e l a b o r a  t i o n of an otherwise f l a t a c t i o n , by h e i g h t e n i n g the e x p e r i  ence i n terms of adding meaning and s i g n i f i c a n c e and deepen i n g the understanding by drawing i t nearer some more b a s i c t r u t h . I t i s i n those moments of s i l e n t comprehension t h a t we p e r c e i v e the world most i n t e n s e l y and the emotions s t i r r e d are as deep i n being as they are wordless. I t i s t h i s comprehension which poetry t r i e s t o speak, t h i s r e v e l a t i o n of d i s c i p l i n e t h a t comes up out of the e a r t h , or i s f e l t along the h e a r t ; i t i s t h i s which verse has t o o f f e r . 3 7 So the g e n e r a l l i n e s of the p l a y , the shape of the s t o r y , the d i s p o s i t i o n of the c h a r a c t e r s , should p o i n t and im p l i c a t e by t h e i r a c t i o n s and t h e i r wider uses the t e x t u r e ^Vpry, i n p l a y w r i g h t s on P l a y w r i g h t i n g (New York, 1962), p. 126. 3 5 I b i d . , p. 127. 3 6 I b i d . , pp. 127-129. 3 7 I b i d . , p. 130. 15 of the poetry. The l a r g e p a t t e r n of the a c t i o n should have a meaning i n i t s e l f , above and beyond the s t o r y ; the k i n d of meaning which g i v e s e v e r l a s t i n g t r u t h t o myths and legends, and makes the f a i r y s t o r y i n t o a sober f a c t ; a meaning not so conscious as a parable or so c o n t r i v e d as an a l l e g o r y , but as i t were t r a c i n g a f i g u r e d w h i c h the poetry can n a t u r a l l y and i n e v i t a b l y f i l l . 3 « What a l l of t h i s r e v e a l s i s an e x t r a o r d i n a r y comprehensive ness, u n i t y , and wholeness i n every f a c e t of Fry , whether i t i s i n h i s a r t or h i s approach t o l i f e . The r e s u l t i s a c l e a r sense of a c e r t a i n s p i r i t or atmosphere i n Fry that s u f f e r s very l i t t l e vagueness or d i f f u s i o n . Perhaps C a r o l i n e Graveson's remarks c o n t r i b u t e t o an a p p r e c i a t i o n of t h i s sense of contemplative g r a v i t y and r e l i g i o u s seriousness which i s c o n s i s t e n t l y behind an exuberant, j o y f u l and spontaneous l i f e i n Fry's work. Unless matters of c u l t u r e are more c l e a r l y shown t o be v i t a l l y r e l a t e d t o r e l i g i o n , an "increasing element i n l i f e w i l l stand outside of the r e l i g i o u s sphere, and l i f e become e i t h e r more and more d i s i n t e g r a t e d or wholly s e c u l a r i s e d . 3 9 While Fry pursues h i s a p p r e c i a t i o n s of l i f e and h i s v i s i o n of i t i n t o drama, poetry, and the t h e a t r e , the Quaker's views i n h a b i t an expanding s p i r i t t hat reaches out i n t o a l i f e of a c t i o n more and more. The meeting f o r worship i s the centre of FriendsL s p i r i t u a l l i f e . In i t Quakers f i n d the source of t h e i r s p i r i t u a l growth and w e l l b e i n g . : l b i d . , p. 129. ' c h r i s t i a n F a i t h , s e c t i o n 463. 16 The S o c i e t y of Friends has always recognised t h a t cor porate worship i s c e n t r a l t o i t s l i f e . Both i n the past and i n the present such worship l i e s behind the Quaker test i m o n i e s against the a c t i v i t i e s and c o n d i t i o n s t h a t hinder the s p i r i t u a l union of mankind w i t h God and wi t h one another, and behind the p o s i t i v e concerns t h a t favour t h a t union. For Fri e n d s there i s i n u n i t e d wor ship a sense of adventure i n the consciousness that the Holy S p i r i t has new l i g h t and t r u t h t o reveal.40 The meeting f o r worship i s a gathering i n s i l e n c e . In i t Friends are drawn by the same f e l l o w s h i p t h a t s t i r r e d Fox and the f i r s t Quakers, and t h e i r search f o r God begins i n removing o b s t r u c t i o n s , such as s e l f w i l l and w o r l d l y d e s i r e s , greed, p r i d e and l u s t , so t h a t the inner room may be ready f o r the d i v i n e guest i f he should enter. . . . The Seed i n any man can be c u l t i v a t e d by c a r e f u l a t t e n t i o n water and no u r i s h  ment. However, i t s growth can never be f o r c e d i n t o maturing i n t o the p e r f e c t i o n of inner c a p a c i t i e s which i s ever the Quakers g o a l , though i t i s never an end.4-1 The process by which a Quaker meeting comes i n t o u n i t y may be t y p i c a l of the whole e v o l u t i o n a r y process through which God creates. This e v o l u t i o n proceeds not by com p e t i t i o n but by co-operation.42 Through the Monthly, Q u a r t e r l y , and Y e a r l y Meetings Friends seek t o order and conduct t h e i r a f f a i r s and business; t o s t i m u l a t e and preserve t h e i r f e l l o w s h i p and purpose; t o acknowledge t h e i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s as human beings; r e l a t e t h e i r concerns and d u t i e s as r a t i o n a l l o v i n g c r e a t u r e s ; and to e x e r c i s e t h e i r resources, both as a world community and I b i d . , I n t r o d u c t i o n , para. 6. i f l B r i n t o n , Friends For 300 Years (New York, 1952), pp. 66 and 205-206": ^ I b i d . , p. 219. 17 as i n d i v i d u a l s f o r the c o n d i t i o n s of humanity. Our congregations and our members i n d i v i d u a l l y need, above a l l t h i n g s , t o manifest a s p i r i t u a l f e l l o w s h i p v i t a l l y i n touch w i t h the needs of men. . . . [We should] bear i n mind th a t i t w i l l be the warmth of f e l l o w s h i p and brotherhood i n our congregations t h a t w i l l a t t r a c t and speak of the love of God.43 The r e l i g i o u s s e r v i c e of our meetings and the s o c i a l s e r v i c e of Friends . . . [are] complementary . . . 44 s i n c e they are rooted i n the same l i f e and s p i r i t . F r i e n d s ' humanitarian concern i s evidenced by the w e l l - administered p h i l a n t h r o p i c and c h a r i t a b l e work f o r which they are known today. The t e s t i m o n i e s t h a t c h a r a c t e r i s e t h i s humanitarianism are the r e s u l t of the Quaker's s p i r i t  u a l l i f e and are expressive of the r e v e l a t i o n s of the "Light W i t h i n " and of the understanding generated by i t . In i t s h i s t o r y the S o c i e t y of Friends has produced many people whose l i v e s of conspicuous s e r v i c e have profoundly i n f l u e n c e d t h e i r times. . . . Their s e r v i c e sprang d i r e c t l y out of t h e i r r e l i g i o u s f a i t h , but t h i s f a i t h was i t s e l f s t i m u l a t e d and f o s t e r e d by the r e l i g i o u s atmosphere i n which they lived.45 H i s t o r i c a l demonstrations of p a r t i c u l a r concerns f o r l i f e and t r u t h have been seen i n the a p p l i c a t i o n s of humanitarianism and a s o c i a l testimony w i t h the p r i s o n reforms of E l i z a b e t h F r y , W i l l i a m Tuke's work f o r mental i n s t i t u t i o n s , John Wool- man's concern f o r negro s l a v e s , the success of W i l l i a m Penn's s t a t e working on Quaker p r i n c i p l e s , and the schemes of Penn ^ 3 C h r i s t i a n F a i t h , s e c t i o n 286. 44- 45- ^ I b i d . , s e c t i o n 38#. I b i d . , s e c t i o n 597. 18 and B e l l a r s f o r European peace, which a n t i c i p a t e d the League of Nations and the United Nations. However, the Quaker peace testimony i s probably the best known and the most deeply rooted. We are deeply convinced t h a t the testimony f o r Peace, which we b e l i e v e has been entrusted t o us as a S o c i e t y , i s not an a r t i f i c i a l appendage t o our f a i t h , which can be dropped without i n j u r i n g the whole, but r a t h e r an organic out-growth of our b e l i e f as C h r i s t i a n s and as F r i e n d s , which cannot be abandoned without m u t i l a t i n g our whole message f o r the world.46 Peace i s a way of l i f e and the fundamental experience out of which the f i r s t Quakers' Testimony arose. I t s p r i n g s from the experience of the " L i g h t " and i s the outcome of the whole c h a r a c t e r , whether of group or of i n d i v i d u a l , and takes every part of l i f e t o i t s e l f . The F r u i t s of Peace must be manifested i n every depart ment of our l i f e . Whenever we act u n j u s t l y or connive at i n j u s t i c e we are p o t e n t i a l war mongers: every s e l f i s h act i s a bomb dropped on our fellows.47 Every u n s e l f i s h act i s a r e c o g n i t i o n of l i f e , a respect f o r i n d i v i d u a l i t y , and a reverence f o r t h a t of God i n everyone. Our peace testimony . . . expresses our v i s i o n of the whole C h r i s t i a n way of l i f e ; i t i s our way of l i v i n g i n t h i s world,, of l o o k i n g at t h i s world and of chang in g t h i s world.48 But i t i s not enough f o r the Quaker t o d e c l a r e h i m s e l f a p a c i f i s t , f o r p a c i f i s t demonstration i s i n a sense a s e l f - ^ I b i d . , s e c t i o n 623, para. 1. 'Gerald K. H i b b e r t , Quaker Fundamentals (London: Friends Home Ser v i c e Committee), p. 9. 48 C h r i s t i a n F a i t h , s e c t i o n 624, para. 1. 19 c o n t r a d i c t i o n and not n e c e s s a r i l y i n d i c a t i v e of understand ing or humanitarian concern. Instead i t r e q u i r e s that men and nations should recognise t h e i r common brotherhood, using the weapons of i n t e g r i t y , reason, patience and l o v e , never acquiescing i n the ways of the oppressor, always ready t o s u f f e r w i t h the oppressed.49 And alongside these attempts t o mediate over c o n f l i c t g o o a l l F r i e n d s ' other t e s t i m o n i e s , which seek t o r e c o n c i l e humanity to i t s circumstances by a i d i n g and a s s i s t i n g those s u f f e r i n g the consequences, not only of c o n f l i c t but poverty, misery, disease, and ignorance. We may never desert the v i c t i m s of oppression, but we must endeavour t o r e a l i s e the c o n d i t i o n s and needs both of the oppressor and the oppressed.50 The a r t i s t i c , d r a m a t i c a l and t h e a t r i c a l forms taken by Fry's a p p r e c i a t i o n of the mystery and by the n e c e s s i t y of i n c o r p o r a t i n g the mystery i n t o the l i f e of modern man are t o t a l l y u n r e l a t e d t o the humanitarian gospel conveyed by the Quakers' a p p r e c i a t i o n of mysticism. However, i t i s the s p i r i t behind Quakerism and Fry's dramas th a t maintains the p a r a l l e l i n i t i a l l y drawn between t h e i r s i m i l a r comprehension of t h i s mystery t h a t surrounds man and that i s the essence of h i s e x i s t e n c e . The purpose of the next chapter i s t o c l a r i f y t h i s p a r a l l e l and t o examine i t i n the l i g h t of the I b i d . , s e c t i o n 621, para. 3 . I b i d . , s e c t i o n 537, para. 3 . 20 c o n f l i c t s and s c e p t i c i s m i n each p l a y , from which comes a knowledge of the r e a l i t y of l i f e ' s paradoxes, b e t t e r s t i l l , a v i s i o n of t h e i r c o n t r a d i c t o r y nature, and best of a l l , the i n t u i t i o n of the mysterious system t h a t sees them a l l belonging t o one law i n s p i r i t and form. CHAPTER I I THE RESOLUTION OF CONFLICT IN CHRISTOPHER FRY'S PLAYS AND THE QUAKER PARALLELS Each of Christopher Fry's plays i s "a l i n k i n the chain, one s e c t i o n of which s u b s t a n t i a t e s the r e s t , " o r , taken t o  gether, they "assume the form of a s i n g l e organic body." 1 "They overlap and are f u l l of mutual echoes: conceptual 2 echoes, because Fry never repeats an image or j e s t . " In other words, the u n i t y of Fry's plays as a whole i s i n the way they are arranged about a common centre. In r e l a t i o n t o t h i s centre each play i s , by comparison t o the seasonal comedies, another aspect of the same themes and concepts, or the expression of a d i f f e r e n t mood. Thus the importance of each i s not f o r i t s d i f f e r e n c e , but i t s s i m i l a r i t y , and Fry's g r e a t e s t concern i s t o t a l k about "the theme w i t h i n t h i s mood, and the p a t t e r n or p l o t w i t h i n the theme." Anne Greene considers the p a t t e r n of ideas t h a t t r a c e s the mystery i n Fry's plays t o i n c l u d e (1) the wonder of the commonplace—of c r e a t i o n i t s e l f , (2) man's sense of estrange ment i n h i s own world, together w i t h h i s need f o r c l a r i t y , xDerek Sta n f o r d , Christopher Fry: An A p p r e c i a t i o n (Lon don: Peter N e v i l l , 1952), p. 57. "~ 2 0. Mandel, "Theme i n the Drama of Christopher F r y , " Etudes A n g l a i s , X (1957), 336. ^D. S t a n f o r d , op. c i t . , pp. 57-58. 22 (3) the bewilde r i n g mesh of God, (4) the mystery of l o v e , and (5) f a i t h i n l i f e ' s purposes.^" In t h i s p a t t e r n many Quaker p r i n c i p l e s are s u b s t a n t i a t e d both by t h e i r relevance t o the same concept of the mystery and through i n s i s t e n c e s such as, l i f e as the c e n t r a l i d e a i n these p l a y s , the i n  d i v i d u a l as the centre of e x i s t e n c e , i n t u i t i o n of meaning behind experience, l i f e behind form, the break through of a t r u e r s p i r i t , and c o n f l i c t ending i n r e c o n c i l i a t i o n through death or l o v e , but e i t h e r way t o the l i f e behind i t a l l . Broad and mysterious though the i m p l i c a t i o n s of a l l t h i s may be, Fry renders them as the a l l encompassing r e a l i t y or middle ground that places Quakerliness as the i d e a l i n human i t y ' s p u r s u i t of the good i n i t s e l f on one s i d e , and h i s own plays as s p e c i f i c e x e m p l i f i c a t i o n s of these i n s i s t e n c e s on the other. Qne t h i n g I was t r y i n g t o do ( i n the comedies) was t o gi v e an appearance of i m p r o v i s a t i o n , of f r e e and almost haphazard l i f e , w h i l e keeping w i t h i n i t a tau t p a t t e r n or anatomy—an e f f o r t t o reproduce the p r o l i x i t y of n a t u r a l t h i n g s which yet contain w i t h i n them law and form and d i r e c t i o n . 5 Whether i t i s Quakerliness or not i s completely i r r e l e v a n t , but the p a r a l l e l l i e s there as though i t were the i n t u i t i o n and the i n t u i t i v e mind th a t pervades h i s plays as a s p i r i t , ^ P r i e s t l e y , B r i d i e and Fry: "The Mystery of Existence i n T h e i r Dramatic Works,"Ph.D. d i s s e r t a t i o n at the U n i v e r s i t y of Wisconsin (1957), p. 359. 5 Christopher F r y , from a l e t t e r t o I a i n K i r k a l d y - W i l l i s (see Appendix B). 23 demonstrating i t s e l f as either a cosmic v i s i o n or a way of l i f e i n pursuit of the mystery of creation revealed by the v i s i o n . Quakerism encompasses t h i s v i s i o n , i f only because i t exemplifies certain r e a l i t i e s through which some of the Quaker b e l i e f s manifest themselves. The c o n f l i c t s i n a l l Fry's plays concern the p u l l and at t r a c t i o n of an empiric s c i e n t i f i c formula on the one hand and nthe s p e l l of i r r a t i o n a l wonder—the magnetism of the mystery of things" on the other."^ A l l the characters ex perience "an inner-tug-of-war between c r e d u l i t y and sceptic- 7 ism," which, o b j e c t i f i e d , becomes b e l i e f and doubt. In examining t h i s sense of c o n f l i c t i n Fry's plays, references to Quakerism w i l l be made i n order to illuminate t h i s issue, and at the same time to j u s t i f y the p a r a l l e l s already drawn between i t s e l f and Fry. THE BOY WITH A CART Though The Boy With A Cart was Fry's f i r s t play i t i s perhaps the clearest and most straightforward expression of his "cosmic v i s i o n , " since i t i s a simple statement of sa i n t l i n e s s and Chri s t i a n f a i t h . Though the other " r e l i g i o u s plays" convey the same quality of s p i r i t and the certain ^D. Stanford, Christopher Fry: An Appreciation (London, 1952), p. 58. 7 I b i d . 24 e x p l i c i t n e s s of Ch r i s t i a n p r i n c i p l e s and b e l i e f s that are only i m p l i c i t i n the comedies or Curtmantle, they also demonstrate the complications of i n d i r e c t symbols and all u s i o n s as well as plots that are more s p e c i f i c and less d i r e c t l y relevant to the Ch r i s t i a n s p i r i t u a l s e t t i n g . The s p i r i t u a l climate of The Boy With A Cart i s of medieval peasants, hagiography, mystery and simple innocence and the c o n f l i c t i s one of f a i t h and scepticism, r e l i g i o n and materialism i n the most d i r e c t sense. Out of his father's death Cuthman becomes a man; I have stayed too long with the children, a boy s l i d i n g On the easy i c e , skating the f o o l i s h s i l v e r Over the entangling weed and the eddying water. Grant t h i s , 0 God, that I may grow to my father As he grew to Thy Son, and h i s son Now and f o r always. 8 Cuthman i s a Ch r i s t i a n and a saint. However, i t i s h i s s a i n t l i n e s s that distinguishes him more than his Ch r i s t i a n f a i t h , f o r the play i s about Cuthman and the working t o  gether of root and sky; God and man, as he grows to the w i l l of God. Cuthman the saint makes his own l i f e through dir e c t contact with the mystery, while a hero l i k e Moses i n The  Firstborn sets himself apart, on top of a wave of national ism. When the wave breaks Moses sees and f e e l s the rest of the ocean pounding him on the sands of l i f e . It i s even, so 8 Christopher Fry, The Boy With A Cart (London: Frederick Muller, 1 9 5 7 ) , p. 8. A l l further quotes from t h i s play w i l l be i d e n t i f i e d by page number i n the text. 25 with Henry i n Curtmantle. The law he seeks to bring about comes from the lawlessness of his own l i f e , f o r when there i s no law any attempt to impose order i s anarchic. L i f e antagonised, responds to anarchy as the desire of freedom to replace authority. While experience leaves Moses washed up looking at a timeless ocean, and f e e l i n g the clash of good and e v i l , seas and sands, where before he f e l t he t r a v e l l e d the crest of a wave, i t leaves Henry dead. Henry fought the waves and was destroyed by them before he even got to the firmer sands of l i f e . Henry's confused perspec t i v e replaced the cause of national l i f e with the cause of a king through the idea of the Plantagenet cause and the divine r i g h t of kings. But i n t u i t i o n leads Cuthman beyond experi ence, "There under the bare walls of our labour," and i t l i v e s where he f e e l s "death and l i f e were knotted i n one strength/Indivisible as root and sky." (p. 39) The move to resolution through the petty squabbles and c o n f l i c t s of a l l who would dare to even r i d i c u l e the divine purpose, l i k e the reapers, l e t alone contradict i t , l i k e A l f r e d , Demiwulf and Mrs. Fipps, i s sublime. The spring ±;oot and sky of young Cuthman's v i s i o n of God i n the natural world grows into God's w i l l . Man and God work together l i k e root and sky and where they meet i s the Church, incomplete and deserted u n t i l Christ the carpenter redeems i t and places the king-post to complete the f a i t h l>n the undaunted purpose dri v i n g Cuthman. And the 2 6 people of South England account f o r Moses and Henry and u s — And what of us who upon Cuthman's world Have grafted progress without lock or ratchet? What of us who have to catch up, always To catch up with the high-powered car, or with The unbalanced budget, to cope with competition, To weather the sudden thunder of the uneasy Frontier? (p. 39) They t e l l us that the purpose i s s t i l l there even though our l i v e s may not even f i n d i t . . We also loom upon the earth Over the waterways of space. Between Our b i r t h and death we may touch understanding As a moth brushes a window with i t s wings, (p. 40) So t h i s purpose and understanding are i n a l l Fry's plays, f o r t h i s i s the theme about which we s h a l l see l i v e s make and break themselves i n a continual interplay of the forces of l i f e , death and love s t r i v i n g f o r the resolution of c o n f l i c t . As the insistence of the theme becomes more apparent from one play to another we w i l l f i n d that the se t t i n g i s merely there as the form behind which the theme moves. It i s also so f o r the Quaker, who neither understands nor acknow ledges authority and law, but who looks to the s p i r i t behind i t f o r understanding. For example, Quakers revere the Bible, but do not consider i t a declaration of f a i t h or a handbook of r e l i g i o u s practice and doctrine. Instead they f e e l i t gives evidence of the personal experience of others, evidence i n other times of that personal appearance and revelation of God so e s s e n t i a l to the meaning of true f a i t h . 27 And the end of words i s t o b r i n g men t o the knowledge of t h i n g s beyond what words can u t t e r . So, l e a r n of the Lord t o make a r i g h t use of the S c r i p t u r e s : which i s by esteeming them i n t h e i r p l a c e , and p r i z i n g that above them which i s above them.9 What CuthmanlPs l i f e says i n The Boy With A Cart i s t h a t t h i s world i s God's world and we know him through i t . L i f e here i s cooperation w i t h God and we cannot l i v e without h i s power, though we may not always acknowledge i t . This play says of the mystery of existence what a l l Pry's plays s t a t e . The only d i f f e r e n c e i s t h a t Cuthman's v i s i o n sees God every where i n c r e a t i o n , w h i l e the other p l a y s , on the whole, are concerned w i t h the same v i s i o n , without a t t r i b u t i n g i t d i r e c t l y t o the C h r i s t i a n concept of God. In a l l the plays "even those [ c h a r a c t e r s ] w i t h no i n s i g h t i n t o the mystery are t r u e c h i l d r e n of l i f e , d i f f e r i n g from the heroes only i n t h e i r l a c k of perception.n~~® A PHOENIX TOO FREQUENT The e s s e n t i a l f e a t u r e of any Quaker testimony has a l  ways been a profound b e l i e f i n the i n d i v i d u a l as the authen t i c p i v o t of e x i s t e n c e , and i n h i s s e n s i t i v i t y t o the awesome^ mysterious, and wondrous. The closeness of t h i s concern f o r l i f e and harmony to the concerns of l i f e i n t h i s play f i n d o C h r i s t i a n F a i t h and P r a c t i c e i n the Experience of the  S o c i e t y of Friends (London: Headley Brothers, 1 9 6 3) , s e c t i o n 204. A l l f u r t h e r references t o t h i s book w i l l be t o C h r i s t i a n  F a i t h and t o the paragraph number. 1 Q E m i l Roy. "The Becket P l a y s , " Modern Drama, V I I I , i i i (December, 1965) , 270. 28 t h e i r o r i g i n i n the i n i t i a l circumstances. The p l a y i s , as i t were, a statement of the p r o g r e s s i o n of d i s j o i n t e d , anemic sentiments towards a v i s i o n of c r e a t i o n and f u l l - b l o o d e d l i f e l i v e d t o the uttermost. "Freedom i s an e s s e n t i a l p a r t of the p h i l o s o p h y of F r i e n d s , freedom t o choose; p e r s u a s i o n , not c o m p u l s i o n . " x x The dilemma of both Chromis and Dynamene i s t h e i r c o n f r o n t a t i o n of one another. In t h i s c o n f r o n t a t i o n they are f a c e d w i t h choice and freedom, and compelled t o choose between l i f e and death, only t o f i n d t h a t when they choose the c o n f l i c t s are r e c o n c i l e d i n the presence of V i r i l i u s moving agai n i n the world. Shendi i n The F i r s t b o r n i s f a c e d with a s i m i l a r s i t u a t i o n . His freedom comes with a c h a l l e n g e i n the c o n f r o n t a t i o n of a choice of f a t e , and not w i t h the promotion t h a t Rameses sec u r e s , f o r t h a t i s j u s t another bondage. Only i n the c h o i c e does he become h i m s e l f f r e e l y , Shendi the Jew. Only i n the choice does he r e a l i s e t h a t h i s r e j e c t i o n of Egypt i s the f e a r of being sent t o the grave and t h a t h i s choice of I s r a e l l e a v e s him "only f r e e t o d i e . " Tegeus c o r r o b o r a t e s h i s " T h i s wasn't a world. I t was death from the b e g i n n i n g " w i t h — At the best we l i v e our l i v e s on l o a n , At the worst i n c h a i n s . And I was never born To have l i f e . Then f o r what? To be had by i t , And so are we a l l . 1 2 The Quaker Reader, Jessamyn West, ed. (New York: V i k i n g , 1962), p. 506. 12 C h r i s t o p h e r F r y , A Phoenix Too Frequent (London: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s ? I960), p. 39. A l l f u r t h e r quotes from t h i s p l a y w i l l be i d e n t i f i e d by page number i n the t e x t . 2 9 But e a r l i e r Tegeus suggested a possible answer. "Then that may be l i f e ' s reason," says he, when Dynamene r u e f u l l y de clares that she sees l i f e leading "one way or another, to death." (p. 25) The play i s a comedy about a Roman s o l d i e r who, though not very enthusiastic about l i f e , f a l l s i n love with a widow who i s t r y i n g to starve to death i n her husband's tomb so she can j o i n him. Tegeus Chromis, the s o l d i e r , faces the prospect of a court-martial f o r losing one of the bodies he i s supposed to be guarding. But with Dynamene's assistance he evades replacing the body himself by substituting the body of her dead husband, V i r i l i u s . The gravity of the hang ing bodies and the presence of death and l i v e s set on a course f o r immediate death are in e x t r i c a b l y the agents of pote n t i a l l i f e , death and love very much at c o n f l i c t i n the circumstances. Here i s no sense of harmony, but one of l i f e at odds with i t s e l f . There i s Doto, the maid, "dying to be dead," because "death's a new intere s t i n l i f e , " Dynamene, who i s 'making arrangements to j o i n her husband . . . i n the Underworld," and Tegeus, whose answer to a lady dying f o r love i s "Not curious;/I've had thoughts l i k e i t . Death i s a kind of love." (p. 8) But h i s boredom and dejection are so kindled by Dynamene's "human f i d e l i t y " that he sees i t as "the clear fashion/For a l l souls." (p. 1 2 ) 30 And the world i s a good creature again. I'd begun t o see i t as mildew, v e r d i g r i s , Rust, woodrot, or as though the sky had u t t e r e d An o v a l t w i r l i n g blasphemy w i t h o c c a s i o n a l v i s t a s In country d i s t r i c t s . I was w i t h i n an ace Of v o l u n t e e r i n g f o r overseas s e r v i c e . . . . (p. 12) The p l a y works towards harmony and the r e c o n c i l i a t i o n of the i n d i v i d u a l t o l i f e through the mediation of l o v e . C a l l me Death i n s t e a d of Chromis. I ' l l answer t o anything. I t ' s d e s i r e a l l the same, of death i n me, or me In death, but Chromis e i t h e r way. . . . (p. 30) Also i n the respect f o r l i f e , t h a t cannot see the j u s t i f i c a  t i o n f o r any law t h a t c o n t r a d i c t s i t . Your l i f e i s yours, Chromis. I t ' s a l l unreasonable . How can they hang you f o r simply not being somewhere? How can they hang you f o r l o s i n g a dead man? They must have wanted t o l o s e him, or they wouldn't Have hanged him (pp. 39 and 40) This i s a respect that i n c l u d e s t h e i r l o v e . Who are they who t h i n k they can d i s c i p l i n e s ouls Right o f f the earth? What d i s c i p l i n e i s t h a t ? Chromis, love i s the only d i s c i p l i n e And we're the d i s c i p l e s of l o v e . I h o l d you t o t h a t : (pp. 41-42) The p h y s i c a l a c t i o n i s l i m i t e d , confined t o pacing round the tomb w i t h the entrances and e x i t s of Tegeus and Doto being t r i g g e r s t o the dialogue of c o n f l i c t i n g f o r c e s and d e s i r e s . For example, Chromis' r e - e n t r y turns the prospects of new found love and l i f e f o r h i m s e l f and Dynamene back t o death as a r e a l i t y . I s h a l l take the place of the missing man. To be hanged Dynamene.' Hanged Dynamene.' (p. 39) 31 The corpses s i g n i f y death as they hang About at the corner of the night . . . present And absent, h o r r i b l y obsequious to every Move i n the a i r , . . . (p. 11) Their loss means death to Tegeus'new l i f e i n love. It's section s i x , paragraph Three i n the Regulations. That's my doom. (p. 4 0 ) But t h i s new love demands that he l i v e . He has walked into the tomb and been confronted with a state of a f f a i r s , " a v i s i o n , a hope, a promise" of " l o y a l t y , enduring passion,/ Unrecking bravery and beauty a l l i n one." (p. 12) He has even savoured the f u l l n e s s of that new state of being. I f e e l as the gods f e e l : This i s t h e i r sensation of l i f e , not a man's: Their suspension of immortality, to enrich Themselves with time. . . . (p. 32) Dynamene seeks death f o r love. But she i s gradually pulled by the love of l i f e and l i v i n g love f o r Tegeus away from t h i s wish. Stop, stop, I s h a l l be dragged apart I i t s t e r r i b l e To be susceptible to two c o n f l i c t i n g norths, (p. 31) u n t i l 0 a l l In myself; i t so covets a l l i n you, M$r care, my Chromis. Then I s h a l l be Creation, (p. 32) The s a c r i f i c e of her husband's body, physical symbol of what i s l e f t of dead love, i s made so that the l i v i n g love may continue and f u l f i l the demands of l i f e f o r them both. 32 I loved His l i f e not his death. And now we can give h i s death The power of l i f e . Not h o r r i b l e : wonderful! Isn't i t so? That I should be able to f e e l He moves again i n the world, accomplishing Our welfare? I t ' s more than my g r i e f could do. (p. 43) "In the experience (the characters) . . . s t r i v e against every condition of (the) . . . animal: against death, against the f r u s t r a t i o n of ambition, against the i n s t a b i l i t y of human 13 love." ^ This i s the i n t u i t i o n of Fry's comedy, and the s p i r i t of V i r i l i u s moves again i n the act of r e c o n c i l i n g Tegeus 1 l i f e to the m i l i t a r y law. The insistence of l i f e i n t h i s play i s so vigorous that i t sways i n d i v i d u a l w i l l on Dynamene's behalf and brings the triumph of l i f e romantically to an i n d i v i d u a l , Tegeus, at odds with himself, and with his l i f e held i n a balance by a m i l i t a r y regulation. Only l i f e and the mystery could f i n d the redemption of an i n d i v i d u a l and such a joyous union so romantically. The gruesome switch of bodies i s both desised and j u s t i f i e d by sentimental love, spontaneous desire, a naively d i r e c t and moving respect f o r l i f e and an almost fantasy-like appreciation and visionary perception of existence bursting with l i f e . This i s a l l part of the s p i r i t u a l climate of pagan joy i n l i f e i n the play. ^Christopher Fry, "Comedy," Tulane Drama Review, IV, i i i (March, I960), 78. 33 THE LADY'S NOT FOR BURNING The c o n f l i c t s and estrangements of l i f e t o i t s e l f t h a t were present i n A Phoenix Too Frequent are a l s o present i n t h i s play. The i n i t i a l circumstances of the f a r from healthy Thomas Mendip and h i s jaundiced views on humanity prompted by the e v i l s of war, set the stage f o r a s i m i l a r s t o r y of l i f e out of key w i t h c r e a t i o n . L i f e i n Thomas needs t o c o r r e c t i t s e l f and i t proceeds t o do so i n a way that i s amongst other t h i n g s Quakerly. Jennet Jourdemayne and he come t o  gether despite themselves, and because of t h e i r very c o n t r a r i  ness. Through h i s attempts t o defend h i s views against the c o n t r a d i c t i o n s of Jennet, they are a c t u a l l y searching together and e n l a r g i n g the k e r n e l of t h e i r own experience of both death and l i f e i n t h e i r f a m i l i a r i t y w i t h one another, and i n the r e c o n c i l i a t i o n of themselves, not as c o n t r a d i c t i o n s of l i f e or death, but as complementary t o one another and part of c r e a t i o n j u s t by v i r t u e of l i f e w i t h i n them. However, there i s something e l s e t h a t c o n t r i b u t e s t o the p a r a d o x i c a l existence of these two creatur e s . In a Quaker way of l i f e the c e n t r a l i s s u e s seem t o ari':se from the i n s p i r a t i o n s and understanding of the meaning behind any con c r e t e law, form, or order of t h i n g s ; from t h a t s p i r i t and l i f e w i t h i n any c r e a t u r e , t h a t causes i t t o be what i t i s , to do what i t does, and be no d i f f e r e n t from any other name l e s s t h i n g than the d i f f e r e n c e i t s own form expresses. 34 Experience i s the process whereby the s p i r i t , l i f e and mean ing behind concrete t h i n g s , i s appreciated. I n t u i t i o n i s the method of perception. And conscience i s the remembrance of the elements of i t s e l f t h a t l i f e acknowledges, such as the respect f o r i t s e l f i n the claims of the i n d i v i d u a l f o r h i s own r i g h t s and the claims of the r i g h t t o l i v e , the r e c o n c i l i a t i o n of l i f e t o i t s e l f i n the peaceful coexistence of l i v e s t ogether, the harmony of l i f e and the l i v i n g , the e q u a l i t y of a l l l i f e i n the search f o r harmony, and the place of i n d i v i d u a l l i f e i n c r e a t i o n . L i f e i s the c e n t r a l i d e a i n Fry's plays and Mandel comments f u r t h e r on t h i s i n "Theme i n the Drama of Christopher Fry" when he remarks that, " l i f e j u s t i f i e s i t s e l f and i t i s what i t i s and i t s being i s i t s a s s e r t i o n ; " " i t seeks i t s own perseverance, and, almost l i k e a god takes possession of us even as we deny i t — i n the very f a c t of denying i t . " ^ The relevance of these p o i n t s was c e r t a i n l y v a l i d i n A Phoenix Too Frequent. But here i n The Lady's Not For Burning i t i s of p e c u l i a r s i g n i f i c a n c e s i n c e the play revolves around the c o n t r a d i c t i o n of Thomas' vigorous d e n i a l s of l i f e . Jennet escapes burning over night i n the company of a war-sickened c a p t a i n , who so despairs of l i f e t h a t he d e s i r e s to be hanged. 35 I've been u n i d e n t i f i a b l y Floundering i n Flanders f o r the past seven years, P r i s i n g open r i b s t o l e t men go On the i n d e f i n i t e leave which needs no pass. And now a l l roads are uncommonly f l a t , and a l l h a i r Stands on end.15 But Thomas sees l i f e h o l d love as a t h r e a t t o t h i s wish i n s p i t e of h i s a p p r e c i a t i o n s and f a m i l i a r i t i e s w i t h d e a t h — "For God's sake hang.: me, before I love that woman I " (p. 35) Jennet i s t o be burned "Before she d i s t u r b s our reason," says Hebbie Tyson, the mayor, (p. 72) Thomas i s found g u i l t y Of j a u n d i c e , misanthropy, s u i c i d a l tendencies And spreading gloom and despondency . . , (p. 61) f o r which he " w i l l spend/The evening j o y o u s l y , s o c i a b l y , t a k i n g p a r t / In the pleasures o f " h i s f e l l o w men. (p. 6l) These circumstances c a r r y f a r l e s s weight than the c o n f l i c t of w i l l s and the antagonism of the f o r c e s of l i f e and death and l o v e . "Why should you want t o be hanged?" says Jennet, and she adds to the c o n t r a d i c t i o n s already at play when she declares I'm an unhappy f a c t Fearing death. This i s a strange moment To f e e l my l i f e i n c r e a s i n g , when t h i s moment And a l i t t l e more may be f o r both of us The end of time. You've cast your f i s h i n g net Of e c c e n t r i c i t y , your seine of i n s a n i t y Caught me when I was already l o s t And landed me w i t h d e s p a i r i n g g i l l s on your own Strange beach. . . . (p. 56) ^Christopher F r y , The Lady's Not For Burning (London: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1963), p. 20. A l l f u r t h e r quotes from t h i s play w i l l be i d e n t i f i e d by page number i n the t e x t . 36 Thomas'), only r e t a l i a t i o n i s f u r t h e r rant about h i s crimes and a s s o c i a t i o n s w i t h the d e v i l And Richard Make t h i s woman understand t h a t I Am a f i g u r e of v i c e and c r i m e — (p. 58) Thomas, the "black and f r o s t e d rosebud whom the good God/ Has preserved s i n c e l a s t October" no longer nods i n at the window, but becomes more i n v o l v e d i n defensive d e n i a l s than i n doing anything about h i s longing f o r death. Jennet longs f o r l i f e . The r e c o n c i l i a t i o n of the s i t u a t i o n and these wishes i s achieved i n the end. Thomas' pessimism i s s t i r r e d by l i f e s t r a i n i n g i n Jennet, so tha t love and new vigour colour the wi n t e r world of h i s disenchantment. G i r l , you haven't changed the world. Glimmer as you w i l l , the world's not changed. I l o v e you, but the world's not changed. . . . (p. 96) I know my l i m i t a t i o n s . When the landscape goes t o seed, the wind i s obsessed By to-morrow, (p. 97) Fry s a i d of t h i s p l a y , I could see no reason why I should not t r e a t the world as I see i t , a world i n which we are a l l poised on the edge of e t e r n i t y , a world which has deeps and shadows of mystery, i n which God i s anything but a s l e e p i n g partner.16 Thomas acknowledges such a world and r e c o n c i l e s h i m s e l f t o i t " f o r the sake of f i v e - f o o t s i x of wavering l i g h t . " (p. 89) The world does not become a good creature a g a i n , but Jennet shows th a t i t i s not a l l bad e i t h e r , only mysterious. Thomas Derek Sta n f o r d , "Comedy and Tragedy i n Christopher Fr y , " Modern Drama, I I , i (May, 1959), 4. 37 does not understand the depths and shadows, but he r e a l i s e s that h i s gesture of death i s not going to change i t , and accepts the fact that he cannot deny seeing l i f e home "though neither of us/Knows where on earth i t i s . " (p. 9 7 ) The play revolves around Thomas Mendip and acts i t s e l f out within the turbulent springtime setting of the Renais sance, with i t s witch-hunt and an extraordinary p r o l i f e r a  t i o n of medieval knowledge and a l l u s i o n s . But the depths and shadows that play across Thomas and Jennet at the end leave them hanging on the verge of a v i s i o n of that mystery that the chaplain l i v e s i n throughout the play. I know I am not A p r a c t i c a l person; l e g a l matters and so f o r t h Are Greek to me, except, of course, That I understand Greek. And what may seem nonsensical To men of a f f a i r s l i k e yourselves might not seem so To me, since everything astonishes me, Myself most of a l l . When I think of myself I can scarcely believe my senses. But there i t i s , A l l my friends t e l l me I a c t u a l l y exist And by an act of f a i t h I have come to believe them. (p. 41) It i s a f a c u l t y that seems to leave him perpetually face to ! face with paradox i n l i f e , which has such Div e r s i t y , I sometimes remarkably lose Eternity i n the passing moment. . . . (p. 3 D It shows him Thomas who "on the contrary, i s so convinced/He i s that he wishes he was NOT." (p. 41) The chaplain's remark about a dream he has, that "Nothing/Is altogether what isre suppose i t to be" i s perhaps a mute r e f l e c t i o n on Thomas' condition. 38 VENUS OBSERVED The Quakers are one of those few r e l i g i o u s s e c t s w i t h i n the C h r i s t i a n t r a d i t i o n t h a t came i n t o being through a d i r e c t experience of the s p i r i t t h a t l i e s behind a l l formal b e l i e f s and r e l i g i o u s d o c t r i n e s . The whole point of the Quaker way of l i f e today s t i l l r e s t s on t h i s p r i n  c i p l e of i n d i v i d u a l r e v e l a t i o n and d i r e c t contact w i t h t h a t of l i f e i n everyone through the means of personal experience enlightened by i n t u i t i o n . The ide a of a r e v i v a l of s p i r i t , of l i f e behind form and order, whether i n the h i s t o r i c mani f e s t a t i o n and o r i g i n a t i o n of a r e l i g i o u s p r a c t i c e , or the personal enlightenment of the i n d i v i d u a l mystic and v i s i o n  a r y , i s one of l i f e w i t h i n l i f e , or an i n f i n i t e v i s t a of l i f e behind e x t e r n a l form, opening out i n t o c r e a t i o n . Fry's plays demonstrate a s i m i l a r s p i r i t u a l triumph, namely, the appearance of l i f e and being behind the c o n f l i c t s and f o r c e s of human law, an ordered world, and formal e x i s t  ence. For instance i n .A Phoenix Too Frequent l i f e ' s purposes triumph and new l i f e and love burst f o r t h from the c o n f l i c t s of the s i t u a t i o n . There are wider forms of l i f e , and g r e a t e r mysteries t o be perceived behind the p a r t i c u l a r turns of experience that i n v o l v e Dynamene and Chromis i n the f i g h t against l i f e t o d i e , than i n the f i g h t against death t o l i v e , or the o v e r a l l s t r u g g l e of i n d i v i d u a l w i l l against f o r c e s outside i t s e l f . L i f e i s t r y i n g t o break through i n new 39 freedom and i t does, because Fry's comic s p i r i t , i n t u i t i o n , r i s e s above the s i t u a t i o n to r e f l e c t on i t and a l l that follows. The night i s passed, they come away from the p i t Chromis nearly dropped them i n , and the toast i s to the new morning and both the masters--the dead who now moves again i n the l i v i n g . The same thing happens i n The Lady's Not For Burning i n a d i f f e r e n t and perhaps more immediate way through Thomas' very denial of any other idea of l i f e . His hate of the e v i l s of war that encompassed him shut h i s eyes to any l i g h t that could f i l t e r i n when he deserted the scene. But they grad u a l l y open on love and a l i f e that i s not on the b a t t l e f i e l d . Love brings i n t u i t i o n which raises him above himself to see many other aspects of l i f e , e s p e c i a l l y Jennet, the one that contradicted war and death. Like Tegeus and Dynamene, Thomas and Jennet are l e f t wishing a good morning to each other and the dawning of a new day i n t h e i r l i v e s . I n t u i t i o n has shown Thomas that l i f e i s neither one experience or another, and the response that the mystery encourages i s the promise of i t s e l f — t o see l i f e home though he knows not where. In Venus Observed the appearance of l i f e and a system behind c o n f l i c t i s also present, but i t i s s t r i k i n g l y d i f  ferent. The Duke i s the complete opposite of Thomas Mendip. Where Thomas saw l i f e ' s imperfections and was taught to love and l i v e , A l t a i r sees no imperfections. There i s always something greater and more meaningful beyond the immediacy of 40 an experience, even i f i t i s only the mind as the receptacle of many experiences over a period of time. Fry c a l l s the perception of meaning behind form and l i f e behind experience, i n t u i t i o n of the mystery and the essence of the comic s p i r i t , while Quakers see the perception of t h i s s p i r i t as the true appreciation of l i f e and the process of continuous education of the conscience or understanding. However, the Duke only sees love and l i f e , rendering them immortal because he does not see beyond. The distorted perspective he has of h i s own age i s of immortal love, not mortal man. Am I, before God, too old? Consider the rocks Of Arizona, and then consider me. How recently the world has had the pleasure Of pleasing, the opportunity of knowing me. Age, a f t e r a l l , i s only the accumulation Of extensive childhood: what we were, Never what we are. . . .17 The desire to l i v e and love i s of l i f e eternal, but man i s mortal and that i s nature's imperfection, and the revelation the Duke must perceive. As with Thomas i n t u i t i o n raises the Duke above experience and leaves him with the prospect of seeing l i f e home to wherever i t may lead. In other words the process i s the same even though the form i t takes i s d i f f e r e n t from the previous two plays. That the Duke's i n  t u i t i o n contradicts Thomas Mendip's serves merely to r e i t e r a t e 17 'Christopher Fry, Venus. Observed (London: Oxford University Press, 1957), p. 67. A l l further quotes from t h i s play w i l l be i d e n t i f i e d by page number i n the text. 41 the fact that there i s no answer, only other experiences and the hope of further i n t u i t i o n . It also intimates that though i n t u i t i o n and s p i r i t may be of l i f e and immortal, the form and the experience change and are mortal. The old Duke and young Perpetua are almost roasted by one of his ex-mistresses. The Duke i n love with l i f e does not see i t s natural imperfections—age, death, mutabil i t y and the shortcomings of mortal love. Unwillingly re signing himself to a faded memory chosen by his son, he rebels at the sight of Perpetua, the v i s i o n of youth. The c o n f l i c t becomes one of youth and age, son and father. "Am I never to move?" says the Duke, and Edgar's reply i s , "Oh, yes, father, but the other, or any way/Except between me and where I aim." (p. 50) The contest i s on between them fo r Perpetua, "or so my hackles t e l l r me," Edgar declares, (p. 50) The burning of the observatory i n t e n s i f i e s the emotions and c l a r i f i e s the s i t u a t i o n , f o r a f t e r i t Perpetua sees that her feel i n g s were of f e a r — found that fear could seem Like love to a s i l l y g i r l , who now knows It was fear and not love. . . . (p. 88) A l l that remains of the observatory through which the Duke t r i e d to reclaim the past with Perpetua i s "the smell of smouldering memory." Rosabel had loved the Duke— Nothing matters Except that he should be made to f e e l . He hurts Whoever he touches. He has to be touched by f i r e To make a human of him, and only a woman Who loves him can dare to do i t . (p. 57) 42 I f i r e d the wing, To destroy the observatory, t o make you human, To b r i n g you down t o be among the r e s t of us To make you understand the savage sorrows That go on below you. . . . (p. 80) But i t was a love beyond her s t r e n g t h , or so i t seemed. Today, t h i s awful day The v i o l e n c e of a long unhappiness rocked And f e l l , and bur i e d me under i t s e l f at l a s t . (p. 80) Edgar f i n d s h i s "memory i s f o r nothing e l s e " but Perpetua. Over and over again I see you f o r the f i r s t time. I round Some corner of my senses, and t h e r e , as though The a i r had formed you out of a sudden thought, I discovered you. . . . (p. 95) The Duke i s l e f t l o o k i n g t o the autumn of h i s age and the ever c l o s e r w i n t e r of l i f e . In m o r t a l i t y ' s name I ' l l be s o r r y f o r myself. Branches and boughs, Brown h i l l s , the v a l l e y s f a i n t w i t h brume, A burnish on the l a k e ; m i l e by mile I t s a l l a unison of ageing, The landscape's a l l i n tune, i n a f a l l i n g cadence, A l l decaying. And nowhere does i t have t o hear The g r i p s of s p r i n g , o r , when so nearing i t s end, Have t o bear the merry m i r t h of May. (p. 97) This i s the epitome of Fry's sense of seasonal drama, where theme and p a t t e r n of ideas are a l l one mood and atmosphere. The Duke has returned t o the perspect i v e of c r e a t i o n , but he does not stop t h e r e , f o r the p a t t e r n of l i f e i s revealed t o him i n a v i s i o n of o l d age. In the name of existence I ' l l be happy f o r myself. Why . . . how marvellous i t i s t o moulder, (p. 98) 43 imagine; t o have the sensation Of nearness of s i g h t , shortness of breath, P a l p i t a t i o n , creaking i n the j o i n t s , A sudden i l l u m i n a t i o n of lumbago. What a r i c h world of sensation to achieve What i n f i n i t e v a r i e t y of being, (pp. 9$-99) And the v i s i o n allows him t o love again: a love t h a t belongs riot t o youth or the past, but t o the present, though i t comes out of the past. I can s t i l l remember In my ebbing way, how pleasant i t i s t o l o v e ; An ancient love can blow again, l i k e summer V i s i t i n g S t. M a r t i n . . . . I marry Rosabel, when Rosabel ( A f t e r s i x months, I understand) Is disengaged from custody, (p. 99) She and I , sharing two s o l i t u d e s W i l l bear our s p i r i t s up t o where not even The n i g h t i n g a l e can know, Where the song i s q u i e t , and quiet Is the song. . . . (p. 99) I t i s as though t h i s i s a window opening on the world. Rosa be l ' s attempt t o make the Duke f e e l i s accomplished. And the v i s i o n i s one H i l d a has a l s o seen, and her explanation of i t comes at the Duke's i n q u i r y a f t e r the h e a l t h of her i n j u r e d husband. He i s Roderic-phenomenon, Roderic o n l y , and at the present Roderic i n pain. . . . This afternoon I made a cockshy of him, but t h i s afternoon I could no more see him than he, poor d a r l i n g , Can t r u l y see h a l f t h a t there i s t o see. (p. 92) Just as Thomas Mendip "tucked up f o r the night of e t e r n i t y " was prodded u n b e l i e v i n g l y i n t o s p r i n g and new l i f e a f t e r b i t t e r w i n t e r , so the Duke moves i n t o autumn and mellow l o v e , 44 at f i r s t r e l u c t a n t l y , but just as inexorably. L i f e moves on. The Duke was just as wrong as Thomas to deny t h i s new l i f e just because the form i t took had changed season. But circumstances marched on, taking them both along through the experience of love to an i n t u i t i o n of some other presence l y i n g behind the immediate, some p r i n c i p l e of non-interference subject to the same laws. THE DARK IS LIGHT ENOUGH The scene and time of the comedies dealt with so f a r i s located quite s p e c i f i c a l l y , yet with considerable apprecia t i o n f o r realism i n the general patterns of commonplace l i v i n g and human emotions too. However, also present i s a very close unity of mood and season of l i f e within the o v e r a l l framework. The pervasiveness of t h i s mood makes the setting i r r e l e v a n t as f a r as any sense of dramatic time or place i s concerned. In terms of the atmosphere they are inconsequential because s i m i l a r c o n f l i c t s and forces are present whether i t i s Ephesus i n Roman times, Cool Clary "1400 either more or less or exactly"; or ;§tellmere Park, now. There i s a sense of myster- iousness and of the depths and shadows of creation l y i n g within the s p e c i f i c locale of each play as well as the play's sense of climatic relevance to the l i f e cycle. This season of each play gives i t a unity i n which the scene, season, characters, and action are bound together i n the one climate or mood. The pattern of ideas that i s formed i s of c o n f l i c t s 45 between ch a r a c t e r , a c t i o n , and the play's mood, w i t h the f i n a l i n s i s t e n c e of the mood on u n i t y i n a s i t u a t i o n that r e s o l v e s these c o n f l i c t s — a s i t u a t i o n t h a t i s o f t e n p a r a d o x i c a l . In regard t o the u n i t y of Fry's plays as a whole, t h i s consistency i n the mood i s evidence of a more s p e c i f i c centre i n the comedies. The season and mood at the centre of each play a l s o e s t a b l i s h e s t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p as seasons of one year, as phases of the same thought. The Dark i s L i g h t  Enough i s the wi n t e r play. However, though the nature of the ideas apparent f o l l o w s the same pa t t e r n and though the i n t u i t i o n or moment of v i s i o n i s s i m i l a r , the circumstances and events assume a degree of s e r i o u s and grave immediacy not i n the previous p l a y s . War i s s i g n i f i c a n t as a r e a l i t y i n which a c t i o n , c h a r a c t e r , and s t a t e of mind revol v e around the c o n f l i c t s that a s t a t e of war induces. Though the winter present i s f u r t h e r deepened by the death of the Countess on stage, i t i s a play i n which the idea of comedy—a look through the eyes at the a l t e r n a t e l y t r a g i c and comic pages of l i f e — i s most a c u t e l y perceived. The Countess' q u i e t e s t task of r e s t o r i n g confidence t o the f l u t t e r i n g Richard Gettner (accomplished by her death) gives him the sudden i n s i g h t and determination t o face the coming army and the p r o b a b i l i t y of h i s own death. Again the mystery i n c r e a t i o n and behind l i f e , becomes a momentary r e a l i t y on which the play ends. L i k e the Duke, Thomas and Tegeus, Gettner i s 46 l e f t i n the moment of comic t r i u m p h — i n t u i t i o n . But i f , as with the other plays, we look at the day-to-day r e a l i t y or perspective of l i f e , t h i s i n t u i t i o n presents merely another v i s i o n . It i s a sign of the everyday commonplaces that have i n them the mysteries of creation, i f only i n t u i t i o n w i l l l i f t us above the ordinariness of experience, so that we can perceive them. The r e a l contest f o r the soul of man i s between the world of temporal values and that world whose values are i n t r i n s i c and eternal: whether man s h a l l be the puppet of an hour, or whether he s h a l l manifest i n his l i f e those q u a l i t i e s which time does not corrupt. W i l l the world of time become so m a t e r i a l i s t i c as to s t i f l e the f a i n t f l i c k e r i n g s of the human s p i r i t , or w i l l i l i t become infused with those q u a l i t i e s of beauty, t r u t h , and goodness which alone can make l i f e worth w h i l e ? ^ Whereas i n the previous plays characters move i n and out of t h e i r c o n f l i c t s and troublesome circumstances, those i n t h i s play l i f t themselves through the c o n f l i c t , never escaping i t , to perceive something else. But, nevertheless, something else i s achieved. Throughout the play the Countess has risked herself and her friends and family not to help Gettner, but to preserve him, merely because " l i f e has a hope of him/Or he would never have lived."" 1" 9 Whether she i s t e s t i f y i n g to Quaker b e l i e f or not, the play continues i n a C h r i s t i a n F a i t h , section 456. 19 Christopher Fry, The Dark Is Light Enough (London: Oxford University Press, 1954), p. 54. A l l further quotes from t h i s play w i l l be i d e n t i f i e d by page numbers i n the text. 47 vein which Friends would endorse. How appropriate the idea of the pilgrimage of the b u t t e r f l y through the storm (taken from J.H. Fabre by Fry) i s to the neurotic a c t i v i t i e s of Gettner as he completes h i s pilgrimage to death along a path of r e c o n c i l i a t i o n to the l i f e he leads. But the mystery i s more than t h i s . The force of some thing else i n l i f e transcends i t so that the w i l l to die and the w i l l to l i v e are i r r e l e v a n t . Gettner reaches t h i s point, h i s way shown by the Countess who has gone before him, and "the dark i s l i g h t enough" fo r his sudden v i s i o n of the deeps and shadows of the mystery. This r e a l l y i s winter, but our experience t e l l s us that i t i s summer else where and that spring w i l l soon come. It i s as though the forces of creation that man and other l i f e act out were superseded and the man himself i n acting them out becomes creation i t s e l f . Peter Zichy i s , i n a sense, a c o r o l l a r y relevant to the meaning of l i f e i n the play's circumstances of war. Peter's experience i s the r e a l i s a t i o n of new meaning i n l i f e that was no deeper than attempts to mediate f o r peace. He finds a challenge to h i s appreciations f o r peace that he has never faced before, and he f i g h t s . I became the very passion I opposed, and was glad to be. I borrowed a sword out of someone's useless hand, And as long as the f i g h t i n g lasted I was, heart and soul, the revolution, (p. 59) After i t he understands peace i n a f u l l e r sense 4* I'm no l e s s convinced Than I always was, they're doing themselves wrong (p. 60) But I know i t now In a d i f f e r e n t sense. I can t a s t e i t L i k e a f a u l t of my own, which i s not the same Flavour as the f a u l t of another man. Besides I know already from today's showing That when they f a i l , I f they do f a i l and head f o r defeat, Being i n the heart of t h e i r d i s a s t e r Makes i t more d i f f i c u l t t o leave them. (p. 60) He rushes back to Vienna, not f o r the sake of h i s mediations, but t o prevent the executions, f o r the sake of l i f e t h a t war and p e r s e c u t i o n always threaten t o destroy. I was a f r a i d They'd l o s e the l i b e r t i e s they were beginning t o g a i n L a t e l y ; not t h a t we should l o s e the humanity We took of God two thousand years ago. (p. 79) One of the s e l e c t i o n s chosen by J . West i n The Quaker Reader u t t e r s a p r i n c i p l e i n Friends t h a t seems t o speak f o r a b e l i e f that Peter has i n s t i n c t i v e l y f o l l o w e d , though he has not pursued i t as a conscious r e l i g i o u s p r a c t i c e . F r i e n d s , t h e r e f o r e , b e l i e v e t h a t we must overcome poverty, d i s e a s e , f e a r , i n j u s t i c e and p r e j u d i c e , and t h a t t o work f o r these ends i s part of t r u e r e l i g i o n . Friends b e l i e v e , i n s h o r t , t h a t r e l i g i o n i s something t h a t has t o be put i n t o p r a c t i c e . I t does not mean the r e p e t i t i o n of c e r t a i n a c t s or forms of words, but r a t h e r a sense t h a t once we are sure t h a t we know at l e a s t a part of God's purpose, then we must do something about i t . . . .We can know what t o do because there i s something of God i n everyone t h a t i n s p i r e s them t o aim at the h i g h e s t , and urges them t o respond t o the highest.20 R i c h a r d Gettner, whose p o s i t i o n i s l i k e t h a t a t t r i b u t e d t o Tegeus and Shendi i n the s e c t i o n on A Phoenix Too Frequent, i s on the r e c e i v i n g end of t h i s philosophy. (New York, 1962), pp. 506-507. 49 Throughout the ages men have recognized certain q u a l i  t i e s as the h i g h e s t — t r u t h , i n t e g r i t y , beauty, love, unselfishness and generosity. We believe that these are the q u a l i t i e s of God, that they have absolute v a l i d i t y and that they are bound i n the long run to overcome error, hatred, suspicion,. ugliness, greed, selfishness and the l u s t f o r power.21 Richard Gettner "the man of f r u s t r a t i o n , the man . . . i n search of God," says, R e a l i t y i t s e l f , with wonder and power, C a l l s f o r t h the sound of great s p i r i t s . And mocks us with a wretched human capacity, (p. 45) He answers Stefan's query about the secret value that makes him claim so much i n order to keep his l i f e , with—"Unless I l i v e , how do you think I can know?" (p. 40) He w i l l "not die to oblige anybody" and w i l l " f o o t - k i s s , " " d u s t - l i c k " and "belly-crawl" rather than . . ."have no l i f e at a l l . " (p. 2 2 ) When Gettner acknowledges the Countess by turning back to her at the end, i t i s evidence of the truthfulness and v a l i d i t y of a philosophy which declares that -Everyone has the power to refuse; free w i l l i s an e s s e n t i a l part of creation; but i n h i s heart a man knows that good i s right and e v i l i s wrong i n such a p o s i t i v e and certain way that no contradiction i s possible. 2 2 This Quaker p r i n c i p l e i s the love without evidence that motivates Peter's concern f o r Hungary i n the Austrian Council. I t i s a comprehending love of unlimited reserve i n l i f e and i t gives him the p o s s i b i l i t y of preventing the slaughter of the Hungarian rebels, just as i t gave him the resources with 2 1 I b i d . , p. 507. 2 2 I b i d . 50 which to see "Hungary's best future i n Austria's f r i e n d s h i p " and to work fo r i t . I t i s the love through which the Countess respects the sanctity of Gettner's l i f e and responds to i t s desperate bids to continue. It i s the love Gelda has f o r Gettner, her f i r s t husband. I am Peter's wife. . . . But I was Richard's wife and those vows, Though they're cancelled and nowhere now, Were abounding i n purpose then, looking ahead With eyes narrowed against the weather To make a way where there was no way. Peter, i f you rest i n our love as I do, Don't wish me to ask Richard to die. (p. 36) It i s t h i s love with which Peter reassures them both i n t h e i r doubts about h i s own safety, a safety which t h i s reverence f o r l i f e s a c r i f i c e s . no one need ever die For us; you know I understand. My God, I should be sorry to see A dead man cross our love. (p. 36) And i t i s the love i n Richard Gettner at the end that responds resignedly. Gettner, an "unhappy f a c t fearing death" scrambles f o r l i f e , but the l i f e he so desperately seeks seems to respond to a magnanimity i n others that comprehends a larger meaning behind h i s l i f e / d e a t h struggle. He Is drawn slowly and surely from i n s e c u r i t y and i n s t a b i l i t y by t h i s love, so that the Countess' death i s part of the l i f e i n him that he i s prepared to respond to with h i s own s a c r i f i c e . This love i s 51 the v i s i o n that m y s t e r i o u s l y r e l e g a t e s the c o n t r a d i c t i o n of l i f e and death t o one another. However, tragedy and comedy, r e l i g i o n and paganism seem t o be f a r from the point Fry i s t r y i n g t o make i n these p l a y s . There i s something behind them a l l , some i n t u i t i o n or understanding t h a t renders them a l l f l a t forms t h a t need the p e r s p e c t i v e of s p i r i t t o e s t a b l i s h t h e i r s i g n i f i c a n c e . Instead of r e t u r n i n g f u r t h e r i n t o a r e p e t i t i o n of what Fry has s a i d i n h i s a r t i c l e s about these matters, C h r i s t i a n F a i t h r e i t e r a t e s much of what Fry t a l k s of i n new p e r s p e c t i v e , by a quotation from A. B a r r a t t Brown and John W. Harvey. The conventional d i s t i n c t i o n between 'sacred' and 'secu l a r ' a r t i s indeed misleading and harmful t o both a r t and r e l i g i o n . Men have come t o speak of sacred music, sacred p i c t u r e s , or sacred verse merely because the sub j e c t matter i s connected w i t h a world of r e l i g i o n which they have p r e v i o u s l y separated from the world of o r d i n a r y l i f e . But the more f r u i t f u l d i s t i n c t i o n i s between i n  s p i r e d a r t and u n i n s p i r e d a r t . The former may be, what ever i t s o s t e n s i b l e occasion or s u b j e c t , e s s e n t i a l l y r e l i g i o u s ; the l a t t e r cannot be made so by any s e l e c t i o n of a ( s o - c a l l e d ) ' r e l i g i o u s ' s u b j e c t . . . . I t i s men and women i n the f i r s t i n s t a n c e who are i n s p i r e d and who are thus able t o produce i n s p i r e d speech and w r i t i n g , music and p a i n t i n g ; and because the springs of i n s p i r a  t i o n are never dry, the book of r e v e l a t i o n i s not c l o s e d . . . . I t may be suggested t h a t the t e s t of the q u a l i t y of such d e l i v e r a n c e s — w h e t h e r i n a r t or i n r e l i g i o u s speech or w r i t i n g — w i l l be found i n t h e i r c a p a c i t y i n t u r n t o i n s p i r e , t o f i n d an answering echo i n the minds and l i v e s of o t h e r s , and t o become a perpetual fount of i n s p i r a t i o n . This i s the i m m o r t a l i t y of the great i n  s p i r a t i o n s of the prophets and a r t i s t s — t h e y continue t o i n s p i r e because they have i n them e t e r n a l l i f e . 'The words t h a t I speak unto you, they are s p i r i t and they are l i f e . ' These are the undying w o r d s — i n s p i r e d and i n s p i r i n g s t i l l . 2 3 C h r i s t i a n F a i t h , s e c t i o n 465. 52 THE FIRSTBORN In the comedies, Fry took highly i n d i v i d u a l characters and the personal experience p a r t i c u l a r to them within the consistent atmosphere of a season. They a r r i v e at the same perception and momentary i n t u i t i o n that i s r e f l e c t e d i n the other plays, but the difference i s that i n the r e l i g i o u s plays the path to t h i s r evelation, though i t i s the same i n nature, i s represented by the circumstances and conditions of a more universal and s o l i d figure or cause moving along i t . The more widespread comprehension of a saint l i k e Cuthman, a national and r e l i g i o u s leader l i k e Moses, or of C h r i s t i a n i t y and b i b l i c a l heroes, gives f a r more directness and immediate depth to the theme. Talking about characters i n The Firstborn Stanford re marks that: Each character manifests i t s e l f to us i n a kind of r e f l e c t i v e process. We gaze as i t were down a cor r i d o r at them, or, rather t h e i r words and t h e i r ges tures lead us down a corridor into t h e i r own past. A l l of them at times, turn back i n t h i s manner, seek ing i n themselves a l i f e they once knew; f o r a l i f e which though outside the temporal boundaries of the play i s s t i l l within them, a f f e c t i n g t h e i r present. It i s t h i s t r a i t which gives them t h e i r human pathos— the sense we have of t h e i r having l i v e d before the r i s e of the curtain on the play; of t h e i r having re joiced and suffered i n the past and of bearing that past as a memory with them, and as something more too than memory.24 ^Christopher Fry: An Appreciation (London, 1952), pp. H5-II5T : 53 This combination of character placed against the back drop of r a c i a l memory and a s e n s i t i v i t y to some inherent l i n k with another l i f e — a wider creation—heightens t h i s i n d i v i d u a l i s a t i o n , so strong i n i t s p a r a l l e l s to the Quaker position. But wee must remember that Fry saw comedy coming from tragedy i n the same way that experience gives r i s e to i n t u i t i o n . Even the characters i n comedy must be " q u a l i f i e d f o r tragedy" and, somehow have to unmortify themselves: to aff i r m l i f e and assimilate death and persevere i n joy. Their hearts must be as determined as the phoenix; what burns must also l i g h t and renew; not by a vulnerable optimism but by a hardwon maturity of delight, by the i n t u i t i o n of comedy, an active patience declaring the solvency of good.25 Besides the comedies, Fry's other plays, with the ex ception of Curtmantle, were written to be performed "either i n , or not f a r away from, a church." This i s t h e i r only r e a l difference from the comedies. The category r e l i g i o u s as d i s t i n c t from the comedies does not r e a l l y apply, f o r " i f any are r e l i g i o u s , they are a l l r e l i g i o u s and i f any are 26 pagan, they are a l l pagan," says Fry. In The Firstborn the rescuing of the I s r a e l i t e s from bondage to Egypt by Moses supplies the circumstances and action of the play, but Fry interprets. It 2 5 yChristopher Fry, "Comedy," Tulane Drama Review (March, I 9 6 0 ) , 7 8 . 26 Christopher Fry, Three Plays (London: Oxford Univer s i t y Press, I960), v i i . 5k r e f l e c t s the debate between a u t h o r i t y and freedom i n Pharaoh and Moses . . . a passioned p l e a f o r s e l f determination i n the language of current p o l i t i c s — an a s s e r t i o n of the r i g h t s of the Jewish race-to evolve t h e i r own ethos under a p r o v i d e n t i a l contract.27 What seems t o be s i g n i f i c a n t i s the consequence of events and not characters as i t was i n the comedies. You appeal t o Moses, But Moses i s now only a name and an obedience. I t i s the God of the Hebrews, a vigour moving In a great shadow, who draws the bow Of h i s mystery, t o loose t h i s punishing arrow Feathered w i t h my f a t e . . . .28 S e t i i s not a bad man, but i s dedicated t o the p r e s e r v a t i o n of t h a t power and assurance t h a t the Egyptians had created f o r themselves. His i s the cause of a n a t i o n , where a l l i s part of the whole and i s destroyed i f i t i s useless and i n e f f i c i e n t . But t h i s i m p o s i t i o n of r a c i a l law and order on t h a t order and form of l i f e t hat speaks f o r freedom of l i f e c a l l s up r e v o l t . L i k e w i s e , Moses i s not a good man, but he i s dedicated t o the cause of l i f e and the i n d i v i d u a l or m i n o r i t y concern, and i s i t s d r i v i n g power, i t s mouthpiece and i t s w i l l . I am here t o appease the unconsummated Resourceless dead, t o j o i n l i f e t o the l i v i n g . Is t h a t not underwritten by nature? Is t h a t Not a law? Do not ask me why I do i t I I l i v e . I do t h i s t h i n g . I was born t h i s a c t i o n Despite you, through you, upon you, I am compelled, (p. 50) 'D. S t a n f o r d , "Comedy and Tragedy i n Christopher Fry," Modern Drama (May, 1959), 6. 28 Christopher F r y , The F i r s t b o r n ( i n Three P l a y s ) , p.72. A l l f u r t h e r quotes, from t h i s play w i l l be i d e n t i f i e d by page number i n the t e x t . 55 Without him t h i s force i s no more than a f e e l i n g amongst indi v i d u a l s that i s unconscious and unoriented. With him i t i s the same as the struggles of i n d i v i d u a l w i l l and the respect f o r l i f e i n the comedies. These two men stand f o r the c o l l e c t i v e organisation and c o n f l i c t of human-order and authority unnaturally suppressing i n d i v i d u a l freedom. They represent the c o n f l i c t of everyday commonplaces and the miraculous (the instrument of God). Moses i s f i g h t i n g f o r a human cause and not a national one and t h i s i s the d i f  ference that i s illuminated by the contestants. It i s apparent i n the peace and calm of the relationships of Moses and Rameses i n a world of s t r i f e , or the c h i l d l i k e compassion of Teiisiret i n the palace of hard-headed p o l i t i c s . But nature takes her course amongst the good and bad on either side. We're not enemies so much As creatures of d i v i s i o n . You and I, Rameses, l i k e money i n a purse, Ring together only to be spent For d i f f e r e n t reasons, (p. 34) So Rameses i s going to die, and b r u t a l i t y f i g h t s b r u t a l i t y at any l e v e l and with any resources i n anarchy, as Moses re a l i s e s , when he i s i n e x t r i c a b l y involved i n the unhalting march of these forces, and when death s t r i k e s across the land. At f i r s t Moses i s d i s i l l u s i o n e d . The shadows are too many. A l l was r i g h t , except t h i s , a l l , the reason, The purpose, the j u s t i c e , except t h i s the culmination. Good has turned against i t s e l f and become Its own enemy, (p. 92) 56 Then he moves from d i s t r a c t i o n t o acceptance. I do not know why the n e c e s s i t y of God Should feed on g r i e f ; but i t seems so. And t o know i t Is not t o g r i e v e l e s s , but t o see . g r i e f grow b i g With what has d i e d , and i n some s p i r i t d i f f e r e n t l y Bear i t back t o l i f e . (p. 94) The characters Moses and S e t i have s t a r t e d the con f l i c t of freedom and a u t h o r i t y and events have r o l l e d them both up i n the consequences. As Anath says, " I t i s n ' t we who make the bargains/ In t h i s l i f e , but chance and time." (p. 66) But the morning which s t i l l "comes/To Egypt as t o I s r a e l , " sees the f o r c e s spent and I s r a e l f r e e . However, they are both l e f t t o pursue t h e i r separate d e s t i n i e s w i t h i n the world i h which they were so r e c e n t l y i n c o n f l i c t . We must each f i n d our separate meaning In the persuasion of our days U n t i l we meet i n the meaning of the world, (p. 95) In a foreword t o the second e d i t i o n of the play Fry says t h a t he hopes that Rameses as the f i g u r e of l i f e w i l l take the c e n t r a l place. He continues w i t h Moses. Moses i s a movement towards m a t u r i t y , towards a balanc ing of l i f e w i t h i n the mystery, where c o n f l i c t s and dilemmas are the trembli n g of the balance . . . he suf f e r s a momentary s p i r i t u a l death at the moment when the f i r s t b o r n ' s p h y s i c a l death creates the Hebrew's freedom; and h i s r e s u r r e c t i o n from t h a t , . . . c a r r i e s w i t h i t something of the l i f e of Rameses.29 Moses shows the inexorable march of progress, where l i f e p a r a d o x i c a l l y triumphs i n breaking bondage at the expense of i n d i v i d u a l l i f e c a r e l e s s l y tossed by these l a r g e r f o r c e s at Christopher F r y , Three Plays (London, I960), p. 5. 57 p l a y . Moses' r e s u r r e c t i o n , w i t h h i s r e a l i s a t i o n of "the morning that s t i l l comes" to them both i s as i t were the awareness of l i f e beyond the s t r u g g l e , behind the cause of n a t i o n s . This i n t u i t i o n a r i s e s from what was a few moments before the d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t of h i s concepts t h a t i n d i v i d u a l l i v e s w i t h i n t h i s s t r u g g l e can a l t e r the j u s t i c e or n e c e s s i t y of h i s own cause. For Moses, i n t h a t moment "a deep and urgent question mark" had hung over the ways of men and the 30 ways of God. He had seen God as representing t h e i r cause and t h e i r cause as being r i g h t , but Rameses had died even though he was an innocent l i f e i n v o l v e d . Here the cause of nations has the same v i t a l i t y i n i t as d i d i n d i v i d u a l ' s a c h i e v i n g t h e i r own v i s i o n as part of t h e i r d e s t i n y i n the comedies, and each s i d e , God's and the enemy's, i s part of c r e a t i o n , l e f t t o f i n d 'ftheir separate meaning" u n t i l they can "meet i n the meaning of the world." (p. 95) The tragedy of t h i s play l i e s i n the c o n f l i c t of ex perience, j u s t where Fry frells us t o look f o r i t . Moses warns S e t i t h a t Egypt i s only One golden e r u p t i o n of time, one f l y i n g spark Attempting the u l t i m a t e f i r e . But who can say What s e c r e t s my race has, what unworked seams Of consciousness i n mind and soul? Deny L i f e t o i t s e l f and l i f e w i l l harness and r i d e you To i t s purpose. My people s h a l l become themselves, By reason of t h e i r own god who speaks w i t h i n them. (p. 49) 3 ° I b i d . 5a But n e i t h e r i s f r e e t o consider the other i n any peaceful or intermediary way. Neither can perceive the v i s i o n or accept any i n s i g h t u n t i l events are over and experience has taught them i t s l e s s o n . The ending i s not t r a g i c because t h a t i s where the i n s i g h t l i e s . The tragedy l i e s i n the f a c t t h a t experience has t o work i t s e l f out. The experience shows c o n f l i c t whereas l i f e , as we have viewed i t so f a r i n the comedies, r i s e s above t h i s t o a v i s i o n of j o y , peace, and l o v e , whether i t i s through C h r i s t i a n i d e a l s or a roman t i c exuberance i n the happy triumphs of l i f e . Quaker p r i n  c i p l e s are absent, but the experience of Moses i s the k i n d on which t h e i r p r i n c i p l e s are derived. THQR WITH, ANGELS In t h i s p l a y Fry's concerns w i t h the mystery are C h r i s  t i a n , and the subject of the play i s C h r i s t i a n i t y . The con t r a d i c t i o n s of C h r i s t i a n i t y and paganism are the theme of the play and they present themselves i n the s p i r i t u a l unrest of Cymen. But there i s a l s o a theme of wider concern t r a n  scending the C h r i s t i a n teachings t h a t provided s a t i s f a c t i o n t o the inadequacies Cymen f i n d s i n h i s pagan r e l i g i o n . So f a r the plays considered have c a r r i e d C h r i s t i a n views and C h r i s t i a n symbols i t i s t r u e , but problems a r i s e . For ex ample, S.M. Wiersma suggests t h a t i n A Phoenix Too Frequent 59 31 the symbols and themes are a l l C h r i s t i a n . There i s the theme of b u r i a l and r e s u r r e c t i o n i n DynameneTs and Doto's s e c l u s i o n u n t i l the e a r l y hours of the t h i r d day. There i s the h o l l y t r e e as the C h r i s t i a n symbol of the cross w i t h the b e r r i e s r e p r e s e n t i n g the drops of C h r i s t ' s blood. How ever, there are a l s o a l l u s i o n s t o Greek and Roman r e l i g i o n such as the P l e i a d e s , a m i s c e l l a n y of gods and s p i r i t s , and the s t o r y on the wine bowls. Further the phoenix i s , accord i n g t o the times and the t i t l e , a f a r more acceptable symbol w i t h i n the play. In the l i g h t of these confusions of C h r i s  t i a n and pagan symbols and i d e a s , and i n the l i g h t of Fry's remarks about h i s comedies and r e l i g i o u s plays being r e l i g i o u s and pagan a l i k e , i t seems f a r more reasonable t o s t i c k t o the ide a of a Christ/Phoenix symbol of love i n t h i s p l a y . Though the C h r i s t and the Phoenix symbols can be i n t e r p r e t e d sepa r a t e l y at v a r i o u s l e v e l s , the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the idea they present seems t o f a r outweigh the importance of an elaborate symbolic form, even i f the l i k e l i h o o d of i t s presence i s j u s t i f i e d . The d i v e r s e a l l u s i o n s convey the meaning (love r i s i n g anew from i t s own dead body) e q u a l l y e f f e c t i v e l y through both a C h r i s t image and the Phoenix symbol. S i m i l a r l y , i t seems best t o take the wine t o a s t s and other images as a c e l e b r a t i o n of l i f e t h a t combines both C h r i s t i a n and Pagan sources t o c e l e b r a t e the l i v i n g i n the dead as w e l l as new — - ' "A Phoenix Too Frequent: A Study i n Source and Sym b o l , " Modern Drama, V I I I , i i i (December, 1^65). 60 l i f e . Both are a f f i r m e d i n terms of love and a joy i n l i f e t h a t i s against death. The s p i r i t u a l c l i m a t e of Thor With Angels r e f l e c t s the n a t i v i t y and the c r u c i f i x i o n . The t r e e i s again present, and i t seems worthwhile t o keep i n mind the f a c t t h a t so many of the hero-gods and avatars are a s s o c i a t e d w i t h the Tree t h a t the c e n t r a l symbol of C h r i s t i a n i t y i s of a t r u l y u n i v e r s a l nature and by no means an h i s t o r i c a l abnormality.32 As f o r the theme, t h i s play i s " a c t i v e l y concerned w i t h s p e c i f i c C h r i s t i a n v i r t u e s : w i t h mercy and the value of 33 s a c r i f i c e understood i n the l i g h t of C h r i s t ' s example." ' IT This i s one of the s p i r i t u a l values of the C h r i s t i a n mystic. A. Watts says t h a t mysticism's e n t i r e concern i s t o transcend s u b j e c t i v i t y , so t h a t man may 'wake up' t o the world which i s concrete and a c t u a l , as d i s t i n c t from t h a t which i s purely a b s t r a c t and conceptual.34 And W.R. Inge considers mysticism as one of the causes "why the type of r e l i g i o n of which the Quakers are the most con s i s t e n t r e p r e s e n t a t i o n s i s g a i n i n g ground," and defines t h e i r type of mysticism as one which r e s t s on the apprehension of s p i r i t u a l v a l u e s , not on the acceptance of supernatural phenomena or the d i s m i s s a l of the imponderables i n t o the limbo of the epiphenomena.35 3 2 A l a n W. Watts, Myth and R i t u a l i n C h r i s t i a n i t y (London: Thames & Hudson, 1954), p. 158. 33 ^D. S t a n f o r d , Christopher Fry: An A p p r e c i a t i o n (London: 1952), p. 99. 3^A. Watts, Myth and R i t u a l i n C h r i s t i a n i t y , p. 15. 3 5 J ^ M y s t i c i s m i n R e l i g i o n (London: Hutchinson's), p. 128. 61 Pure m y s t i c i s m does not belong t o any p a r t i c u l a r r e l i g i o n and i s too s u b j e c t i v e t o p r o v i d e a bond of union between i n d i v i d u a l s . Quakerism, however, i s a group form grounded i n C h r i s t i a n concepts, and i t i n c o r p o r a t e s the S u b j e c t i v e and contemplative, a t t r i b u t i n g them t o the m y s t i c a l i n experience. I t has n o t h i n g t o f e a r from d i s c o v e r y and r e  s e a r c h , f o r though i t s evidence i s i n t e r n a l i t s knowledge i s based on f a c t s and experience. D i v i n e l o v e , union with c r e a t i o n and an understanding of God's purpose are synony mous i n the experience of the C h r i s t i a n m y s t i c , and are not d i s t i n c t i v e l y Quakerly. But i t i s the comprehensiveness of l o v e i n t h e i r own s p i r i t u a l l i v e s and i n the outward ex p r e s s i o n s of t h e i r humanitarianism t h a t d i s t i n g u i s h e s them. In F r y ' s p l a y s l o v e i s a cosmic mystery. L i k e r i n g s i n a p o o l of water, the r i p p l e s extend from the i n d i v i d u a l ' s s e l f i s h , g r a s p i n g l o v e of l i f e i n someone l i k e G e t t n e r , t o l a p on l i f e i t s e l f . In Venus Observed the Duke and Perpetua's embrace i n the f i r e i s t h a t of human s o l i d a r i t y i n misery. But, whatever i t i s , a g r e a t e r l o v e moves these c h a r a c t e r s i n t o l i f e and towards the mystery. I t i s the same w i t h Tegeus' worshipping l o v e o f beauty f a i t h f u l t o the grave, and Moses' s e n t i m e n t a l r e f l e c t i o n s on h i s once promising youth as i t seems t o be r e f l e c t e d i n the hero-worshipping Rameses. The end r e s u l t l i e s i n an understanding l i k e M e r l i n ' s i n t u i t i o n of c r e a t i o n and the Countess Rosmarin's p e r s p e c t i v e t h a t p l a c e s a r e s p e c t f o r l i f e above the l u x u r y 62 of f a m i l y f e e l i n g . Love does not seem t o be a p a s s i o n but an a f f e c t i o n f o r l i f e and the l i v i n g . To l i v e and l o v e i s t o t r u s t i n the harmony 5of l i f e ' s o r d e r , which i n c l u d e s the r e s i g n a t i o n of time, m u t a b i l i t y and the phenomenon of death. T h i s i s the law of l i f e . F r y i s concerned w i t h l i f e ' s o r d e r , and the C h r i s t i a n d o c t r i n e t h a t i s apparent i n h i s work i s not from the w r i t t e n laws of God, but the l i v i n g laws of l i f e and the demands of l o v e t o l i v e . I* 1 T h o r With Angels the i n s t i n c t i v e a s s e r t i o n s of l i f e are p a r t of the p l a y . In Moel, i t i s a s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d w i l l t o l i v e ("I want t o l i v e having a l i f e w i t h i n me t h a t seems t o demand i t n ) comparable t o what the Countess s a i d of Gettner t o J a n i k L i f e has a hope of him Or he would never have l i v e d . . . . R i c h a r d l i v e s In h i s own r i g h t , C o l o n e l , not i n yours Or mine. (The Dark Is L i g h t Enough, p. 54) For Cymen's f a m i l y t h i s wish i s behind the pagan t e r r o r t h a t d r i v e s them t o s a c r i f i c e and appease t h e i r gods, and i t i s i n d i r e c t c o n f l i c t w i t h the C h r i s t i a n t e a c h i n g s of l o v e t h a t e v e n t u a l l y g i v e the s a t i s f a c t i o n Cymen seeks. To a d i r e c t r e c o g n i t i o n of need M a r t i n a adds a l o v e of l i f e t h a t i s compassionate. De s p i t e the d i s c r i m i n a t i o n s her f a m i l y and people expect of her, i t i n s t i n c t i v e l y c a l l s her t o h e l p o l d men and p r i s o n e r s , because they are l i v e s i n need of i t . Cymen, however, l a c k s the d i r e c t n e s s and n a i v e t e t h a t l e t s 63 h i s daughter keep such c o n f l i c t i n g f o r c e s apart. I t *s a p i t y - You had t o be born a B r i t o n . I'm f o r c e d t o hate you. You look too t i r e d t o be hated And t h a t won't do at a l l . (p. 144) The i n s i s t e n c e of l i f e t h a t Cymen f e e l s generated i n him s e l f , r e g a r d l e s s of Hoel's f a i t h and r a c e , poses a l o t of d i s s a t i s f a c t i o n , doubt, f r u s t r a t i o n , and concern. Further more, i t i s beyond the simple answers of h i s pagan b e l i e f , so he throws down i t s a l t a r i n d e s p a i r , and c r i e s t o h i s gods By what stroke was the human f l e s h Hacked so separate from the body of l i f e Beyond us? You make us t o be the e t e r n a l a l i e n In our own world. . . . (p. 138) The appearance of M e r l i n i s as though a more thorough way of l i f e and a t r u e r v i s i o n of existence has crept i n t o the p l a y , one t h a t i s c l o s e r t o a s t i l l point i n time and c r e a t i o n . With h i s presence i t seems as though the problems and f e a r s of the pagan and the response of a C h r i s t i a n love and f a i t h p lay as f o r c e s across the face of a c r e a t i o n that holds them despite t h e i r c o n t r a d i c t o r y nature. Death i s what conquers the k i l l e r , not t h e . k i l l e d . You, and moreover your conquerors, w i l l bear K i n d l y and as though by nature our name, the B r i t i s h Name, and a l l the p a r a p h e r n a l i a , legend And h i s t o r y , as thoughyou were our widow Not our conqueror. . . . (p. 127) ^ C h r i s t o p h e r F r y , Thor With Angels ( i n Three P l a y s ) , p. 120. A l l f u r t h e r quotes from t h i s play w i l l be i d e n t i  f i e d by page number i n the t e x t . 64 M e r l i n sees through time and watches l i f e ' s rough and tumble of body and s p i r i t , "quest and conquest and quest again," and comments on what he sees pass l i k e moments across the face of B r i t a i n . To the pagan, l i f e remains i n d i f f e r e n t t o man Much more so your gods Who l i v e without the world, who never f e e l As the world f e e l s i n springtime the stab of the spear And the spurt of golden blood, Winter's wound-in-the-side, the place where l i f e begins Nothing, i t seems, cares f o r your defeat, (p. 127) While C h r i s t i a n i t y conjures up the image of a time before the Pagan conquest A C h r i s t i a n l a n d . There I t was, and o l d Joseph's f a i t h f u l s t a f f Breaking i n t o s c a r l e t bud i n the f a l l i n g snow. But as I s a i d at the time, the m i r a c l e Was commonplace: staves of chestnut wood And maywood and the l i k e perform i t every year. (p. 128) O s t e n s i b l y t h i s play c e l e b r a t e s the a r r i v a l of C h r i s  t i a n i t y t o B r i t a i n , and the teachings of C h r i s t i a n love are the means by which Cymen's eyes are opened t o a v i s i o n t h a t i s l i k e t h a t of the working together of root and sky, man and God that l i e s so deeply i n g r a i n e d i n The Boy With A Cart. But I have heard Word of h i s God, and f e l t our l o n e l y f l e s h Welcome to c r e a t i o n . The f e a r f u l s i l e n c e Became the s i l e n c e of great sympathy, The quiet of God and man i n the mutual word. (pp. 151-152) But M e r l i n submerges r e l i g i o n i n the mystery, the s p i r i t be h i n d i t - - t h e s p i r i t t hat was behind the one-sidedness of Moses' concept of h i s God and t h a t i n c l u d e d him and i t as another part of the mystery seeking i t s own separate meaning. 65 The Ch r i s t i a n sees s p i r i t and being i n creation through the concept and doctrine of C h r i s t i a n love, but Merlin's v i s i o n i s of the natural world, and i t speaks f o r the most funda mental and most true s p i r i t of being that l i f e responds to i n a l l Fry's plays. A l l dreams out of the slumbering rock, Each dream answering to a shape Which was i n dream before the shapes were shapen; And above the shapes of l i f e , the shape Of death, the singular shape of the dream di s s o l v i n g , Into which a l l obediently come. And above the shape of death, the shape of w i l l Where the stream of the dream wakes i n the open eyes Of the.sea of love of the morning of the God. S t i l l I Observe the very obdurate pressure Edging men towards a shape beyond The shape they know. Now and then, by a s p i r i t Of l i g h t , they manage the clumsy approximation, Overturn i t , turn again, refashion leaner the advising of t h e i r need. Always the shape l y i n g over l i f e . The shape shone Like a f a i n t c i r c l e round a moon Of hazy gods, and age by age The gods reformed according to the shape, According to the shape that was a word, According to Thy Word. . . . (pp. 145-146) "A secret d i r e c t i o n passing the gods," i t goes straight through C h r i s t i a n i t y to the key i n which creation was com posed. The unity of things, and the idea of what we may perhaps term an evolutionary universe i s annunciated. The pas sage i n which the images that represent these ideas occurs i s spoken, s i g n i f i c a n t l y , by Merlin . . . and not by one of the Ch r i s t i a n characters. At the same time . . . the pagan sage, prophesies the coming of the Christians . . . whose a r r i v a l . . . w i l l i n some way f u l f i l the end towards which creation has been moving. 66 Looked at i n t h i s l i g h t , i t i s p o s s i b l e t o r e c o n c i l e M e r l i n ' s 'pantheism' w i t h the gospel. . . . C h r i s t i a n i t y , Fry perhaps suggests, was the next stage i n 'emergent e v o l u t i o n ' — t h e f l o w e r i m p l i c i t i n an e a r l i e r seed.37 A SLEEP OF PRISONERS Mandel c a l l s t h i s play an a l l e g o r i c a l masque tha t " a s s e r t s Fry's ideas r a t h e r than t e s t i n g them," and Fry him s e l f i n d i c a t e s t h i s a s s e r t i o n when he suggests t h a t I t has always seemed t o me t h a t the d i f f e r e n c e s and c o n f l i c t s between men s p r i n g o f t e n — p e r h a p s more ofte n than n o t — f r o m the d i f f e r e n c e s between the outward armour, the facades behind which we hide our s p i r i t s . Perhaps the design of the play could be t o show f i r s t of a l l a group of men as they seemed on the surface t o each other, and then l e t them sleep and dream, each Man dreaming of the other three and of h i m s e l f , so t h a t each character could be seen f o u r times over.38 As a r e s u l t t h i s play i s one of Fry's most d i r e c t statements about the nature of love and c o n f l i c t i n a C h r i s t i a n context. These f o u r p r i s o n e r s of war confined i n a church move from d i v i s i o n t o u n i t y through t h e i r dreams. I t i s the "growth of the v i s i o n and an increased perception of what 39 makes f o r l i f e and what makes f o r death." From David's f r u s t r a t i o n and t o t a l incomprehension of Peter's temperament, the squabble penetrates David's s l e e p i n g s t a t e . His dream p r o j e c t s the s i t u a t i o n i n h i s mind t o the p a r a l l e l of the D. S t a n f o r d , Christopher Fry: An A p p r e c i a t i o n (Lon don, 1952), pp. 99-100. 3 ^ 0 . Mandel, Etudes A n g l a i s (1957), 345; and Christopher F r y , "Drama i n a House of Worship? The New York Times (October 14, 1951), sec. 11,2. 39 V 7D. S t a n f o r d , "Comedy and Tragedy i n Christopher F r y , " Modern Drama (May, 1959), 4. 67 Cain and Abel s t o r y of o u t r i g h t murder, seen through Gain's angry eyes. I loved l i f e With a good rage you gave me. And how much b e t t e r Did Abel do? He set up h i s heart Against your government of f l e s h . How was I expected'to guess ,Q That what I am you didn't want. Then i n Peter's dream, his—Absalom's-^death becomes a p o l i t i  c a l murder by David. Absalom w i l l a t t r i b u t e no importance t o e v i l i n others since he has no enemies and cannot see the e v i l . H e l l i s i n my f a t h e r ' s head Streaming w i t h imagined hordes And conjures them t o come. But you and I Know t h a t we can t u r n away And everything w i l l t u r n Into i t s e l f again. What i s A l i t t l e e v i l here and there between f r i e n d s ? (p. 182) In Adam's dream, the s a c r i f i c e of love f o r the sake of prog r e s s — t h e s t o r y of Abraham and I s a a c — s e e s Peter saved by a new incitement t o l o v e . There's no l o o s e n i n g , s i n c e men w i t h men Are l i k e the knotted sea. L i f t him down From the stone t o the grass again, and, even so f r e e , Yet he w i l l f i n d the angry c i t i e s h o l d him. But l e t him come back t o the strange matter of l i v i n g As best he can: . . . (p. 192) In the l a s t dream, Meadows' dream, they are a l l together. David, P e t e r , and Adams appear as Shadrac, Meshac, and Abednego and l i v e i n undivided triumph through the f i r e of t h e i r own inhumanity t o one another. - C h r i s t o p h e r F r y , A Sleep of P r i s o n e r s ( i n Three Plays) p. 179- A l l f u r t h e r quotes from t h i s play w i l l be i d e n t i f i e d by page number i n the t e x t . 6a Look, how intense The place i s now, w i t h swaying and t r o u b l e d f i g u r e s . The flames are men: a l l human. There's no f i r e ! Breath and blood chokes and burns us. This Surely i s unquenchable? I t can only transform. There's no way out. We can only stay and a l t e r , (p. 208) They are j o i n e d by Meadows whose quiet love and s t r e n g t h seem the whole cause of the u n i t y i n r e t r o s p e c t . I t i s he who seems t o understand and i n t e r p r e t what the others f e e l . Good has no f e a r ; Good i s i t s e l f , whatever comes. I t grows, and makes, and b r a v e l y Persuades, beyond a l l t i l t of wrong: I f we b e l i e v e i t w i t h a long courage of t r u t h , (p. 203) The play f i n d s i n these f o u r men the r e c o n c i l i a t i o n and love of understanding i n the union of l o v e , one nature w i t h another f o r the sake of l i f e . The human heart can go t o the lengths of God. Dark and c o l d we may be, but t h i s I s no w i n t e r now. The f r o z e n misery Of c e n t u r i e s breaks, c r a c k s , begins t o move; The thunder i s the thunder of the f l o e s , The thaw, the f l o o d , the u p s t a r t Spring. Thank God our time i s now when wrong Gomes up t o face us everywhere, Never t o leave us t i l l we take The longest s t r i d e of s o u l men ever took. A f f a i r s are now soul'., s i z e The e n t e r p r i s e I s e x p l o r a t i o n i n t o God. (p. 209) The whole concept of the play i s based on f o u r b i b l i c a l s t o r i e s which are C h r i s t i a n myths h o l d i n g t h e i r fundamental t r u t h i n the dream s t a t e of these s o l d i e r s . Here i s a d r a m a t i s a t i o n of the Jungian dream s t a t e embodying the c o l l e c  t i v e unconscious of a race's h i s t o r y together w i t h s p e c i f i c r e l i g i o u s t u r n s that throw back t o the beginnings of C h r i s t i a n 69 myth. In t h e i r dreams these f o u r men f o l l o w the path of t h e i r c u l t u r a l h i s t o r y , l i v i n g the s p i r i t u a l memory of t h e i r race as i t leads them i n t o the meaning of the world and brings them up t o t h e i r own times of war outside the church i n which they are imprisoned, and of war among themselves. They have met the d i f f e r e n c e s and c o n f l i c t s i n t h e i r own facades i n terms of common memories and reach a common u n i t y of s p i r i t w i t h i n those memories, a new respect f o r humanity and l i f e t h a t supersedes the Jud e o - C h r i s t i a n context of t h e i r times and t h e i r dreams. In The F i r s t b o r n Fry was using not only the same te c h  nique, but s i m i l a r m a t e r i a l . I t i s not h i s t o r i c a l evidence, b i b l i c a l s t o r y , or happy romance, r e t o l d as drama, that count w i t h Fry. I t i s the meaning or t r u t h behind the f a c t s and the form that c a r r y the import, and i t i s the symbols and a l l u s i o n s , events, characters and s t o r y t h a t together create the c l i m a t e . In the comedies t h i s e f f e c t was achieved by a u n i t y i n the season of the p l a y , w h i l e i n the r e l i g i o u s plays the C h r i s t i a n and Pagan are t i e d i n t o t h i s mood. But when Fry deals w i t h b i b l i c a l events as he does i n A Sleep of P r i s o n e r s and The F i r s t b o r n , C h r i s t i a n h i s t o r y as he does i n The Boy With A Cart and Thor With A n g e l s — t o a l e s s e r extent, and h i s t o r y as i n Curtmantle, t h i s e f f e c t suddenly achieves the s t a t u r e of myth-making. This technique t h a t Fry s p e c i a l i s e s i n i s the essence of myth i t s e l f . In Fry's words i t c a r r i e s the " r i n g of an oHd t r u t h . " 70 The transforming power of the myth depends upon a f u l l and e f f e c t i v e r e a l i s a t i o n of i t s meaning, which i s something very much more than a devout f a s c i n a t i o n f o r the numinous q u a l i t y of i t s symbols.41 In C h r i s t i a n i t y even Moses i s a C h r i s t f i g u r e who provides the connection of the paschal lamb s a c r i f i c e t o C h r i s t ' s s a c r i f i c e . Moses was saviour of I s r a e l and fought the f o r c e s of e v i l i n the same way ( C h r i s t ' s grace i s r e t r o  a c t i v e i n e n l i g h t e n i n g a l l the seers of o l d ) . Furthermore, the h i s t o r i c a l f i g u r e of C h r i s t , a l i v e and dead, shows men "the i n d e s t r u c t i b l e power of l o v e " that i s " c e n t r a l t o any statement which se t s out the b e l i e f s of the S o c i e t y of F r i e n d s . " ^ 3 In f a c t F r i e n d s ' views on the B i b l e and other such t e s t i m o n i e s g i v e evidence of a s i m i l a r a t t i t u d e . This was a l s o considered i n the d i s c u s s i o n on The Boy With A Cart. [Quakers deal w i t h B i b l i c a l events i n a way t h a t ] makes p o s s i b l e a r e t u r n t o b e l i e f w i t h an understanding of the deeper meanings inherent i n the words of the B i b l e . At t h i s stage we are not so much concerned w i t h h i s t o r i  c a l v a l i d i t y or r a t i o n a l consistency w i t h our s c i e n t i f i c or p h i l o s o p h i c a l outlook as we are w i t h the inner s i g n i f  icance of h i s t o r y , myth and symbol. Symbol i s a l a n g  uage of r e l i g i o n , but i t must never be a s u b s t i t u t e f o r r e l i g i o n . A l l l i v i n g theology grows out of personal experience. A c c o r d i n g l y each b i b l i c a l t e x t , t o be of r e a l v a l u e , must have s p i r i t u a l relevance t o the inner r e l i g i o u s experience of the reader or hearer. This . . . may be understood as i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of the B i b l e through the L i g h t Within.44 ^A.W. Watts, Myth and R i t u a l i n C h r i s t i a n i t y (London, 1954), p. 135- 4 2 I b i d . , p. 92. , — . , ^H.B. P o i n t i n g , The S o c i e t y of Friends (London: Friends House, 1953), p. 7. ^Howard H B r i n t o n , Friends f o r 300 Years (New York: Harper, 1952), p. 34. 71 A Sleep of Prisoners deals with the s p i r i t u a l implica tions of various points of view. Their relevance to both the unity of the play and the unity the characters again achieve, l i e s i n the figure of Christ himself. Each one of these b i b l i c a l s t o r i e s contains the same myth of good and e v i l , of c o n f l i c t and s a c r i f i c e — a myth that reaches i t s climax i n the relevance of actual fact to mythical truth that the story of Christ achieved. In t h i s play, perhaps more than i n the others, there i s the idea of e v i l as a consequence of man's consciousness. Fry emphasises vices and shortcomings rather than active e v i l i n h i s c h a r a c t e r s . ^ David seems the most clear example i n t h i s play, and Henry car r i e s the idea i n Curtmantle. While i n the other plays, though i t i s present, romance of both comedy and C h r i s t i a n v i r t u e tend to minimise i t . How ever, i n a l l the plays the supreme good opposing t h i s e v i l i s that man must die and love f o r l i f e . ^ The C h r i s t i a n archetypes seem to a r i s e from a p a r t i c u l a r point of importance i n other myths, or, at l e a s t , they contain the properties of several older myths that go back to a story of creation. In a very s p e c i f i c way the myth of creation be longs to everyman, f o r Adam i s the new creature, the i n d i v i d  ual i n his a b i l i t y to see a l l he encounters as i f f o r the ^ E m i l Roy, "The Becket Plays," Modern Drama, VIII, i i i (December, 196$), 270. 4 6 I b i d . 72 f i r s t time. He needs ne names and sees the world w i t h a sense of wonder grasped by no o t h e r , u n t i l experience teaches him the h a b i t of commonplaces. What F r y and Quakers h o l d i n common i s the value of being a b l e t o p e r c e i v e i n wonder, as i f f o r the f i r s t time, while y e t understanding i n the f u l l n e s s of the experience of l i v i n g — a combination of v i s i o n and the mystery of e x i s t e n c e . For Cuthman, i n The Boy With A C a r t , t h i s s e n s a t i o n i s the working t o g e t h e r of God and man, i n d i v i s i b l e as r o o t and sky. I t probes the depths of the C h r i s t i a n mystery when, i n the f u l l e s t moment of l i f e he sees C h r i s t the c a r p e n t e r and hears h i s v o i c e h o v e r i n g "on memory wit h open wings." (p. 39) For Tegeus Chromis i n A Phoenix Too Frequent the s e n s a t i o n i s of f e e l  i n g "as the gods f e e l . " I was born e n t i r e l y For t h i s reason. I was born t o f i l l a gap In the world's e x p e r i e n c e , which had never known Chromis l o v i n g Dynamene. (p. 28) Can we be made of dust as they t e l l us? What.' dust w i t h dust r e l e a s i n g such a l i g h t And such an a p p a r i t i o n of the world W i t h i n one body. . . . (p. 32) Thomas Mendip's v i s i o n i s of a commonplace woman, J e n n e t — " f i v e - f o o t s i x of wavering l i g h t . " (p. 89) She i s a v i s i o n "As i n e v i t a b l e as o r i g i n a l s i n , " and one t h a t " I s h a l l be l o a t h t o f o r g o . . ./Even f o r the sake of my u l t i m a t e f r i e n d l y d eath." (p. 97) To the Duke of A l t a i r , the s e n s a t i o n i s of the autumn of h i s age, but j u s t as d a z z l i n g . 73 In the name of existence I ' l l be happy f o r myself. Why, . . . how marvellous i t i s to moulder (p. 98) What a r i c h world of sensation to achieve, What i n f i n i t e v ariety of being, (p. 99) ' Richard Gettner sees r e a l i t y c a l l i n g "forjther'sound of great s p i r i t s " and t e l l i n g him that the value he placed on h i s own l i f e i s "simply what any l i f e may mean." And so the moments go. For Moses, a v i s i o n of l i f e and destiny i s exemplified by the struggles of Egypt and I s r a e l i n The Firstborn. Cymen sees C h r i s t i a n i t y o f f e r him and h i s people a welcome to creation i n Thor With Angels. In A Sleep Of Prisoners each s o l d i e r l i v e s through the dream of unity, while Curtmantle imparts a perspective of Henry's t r a g i c h i s t o r y to the audience. CURTMANTLE In Curtmantle, Fry's most recent play, certain elements that have appeared i n previous plays are l o c a l i s e d by a f a r more s p e c i f i c series of h i s t o r i c a l f a c t s . Henry has a character f a r more complex than that of Moses or S e t i i n The F i r s t b o r n — t h e only other play i n which Fry's sense of comedy does not take over from the t r a g i c experience of man. Likewise the events and facts of Henry's l i f e incorporated i n the play are f a r more numerous. Yet the play goes through to the t r a g i c concepts that are as elusive but as d e f i n i t e as those i n The Dark Is Light Enough. There are two themes, one towards a p o r t r a i t of Henry that searches f o r his r e a l i t y , 74 and the other of the interplay of d i f f e r e n t laws: c i v i l , canon, moral, aesthetic, and the laws of God; and how they in belong and do not belong to each other. Through them comes a f a m i l i a r "angle of experience." The play, i n searching f o r the r e a l i t y of Henry's character, i s re solved i n tragedy with the close "He was dead when they came to him." Henry i s not granted insight into his own condition. But the force and l i f e i n him belongs to a wider kind of being, rather l i k e the absorption of Seti's and Moses' characters into the larger c o n f l i c t beyond them and t h e i r understanding—that of warring nationalisms. It i s Henry's t r a g i c fate to move through l i f e creating law and order out of darkness and yet he goes to his end watching i t a l l crumble round him. Eleanor and his family forsake him, antagonised, taking lands and ru l e . P o l i t i c a l l y they lower his achievements further by a l l i a n c e against him with France. He alienates himself from the Church by the murder of Becket. His ending i s i n the same darkness he came from and his king ship i s nothing. In the face of death the forces of l i f e and character i n him disappear leaving a body, l i k e any other, that i s stripped by the need and poverty of h i s own pe o p l e — the demands and elements of l i f e that he fought to curb and r e s t r a i n by enforcing law and order. His l i f e was the f i g h t , Christopher Fry, Curtmantle (London: Oxford Univer s i t y Press, 1961), v i i i - i x . A l l further quotes from t h i s play w i l l be i d e n t i f i e d by page number i n the text. 75 c l a s h , and t e n s i o n of a p e r s o n a l i t y moving w i t h i n the en v i r o n s of t i t l e and r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . Throughout the play W i l l i a m M a r s h a l l , whose reminiscence t h i s i s , seems t o question t h i s l i f e i n pinning the character and accomplish ments of Henry against the backdrop of the times, which were as law l e s s as c r e a t i o n , but which were the t a b l e a u of Henry's attempts at law and h i s own lawlessness. This play i s f a r c l e a r e r about the phenomenon of man than i s The  F i r s t b o r n , because Henry's character i s placed i n f a r g r e a t e r d e t a i l and r e l i e f w i t h i n the perspect i v e of the permanent c o n d i t i o n of man. Fry's sense of man's tragedy i s i n t h i s play the overemphasis of m a t e r i a l and a u t h o r i  t a r i a n concerns. Henry i s too much of a hero and t h i s i s h i s f l a w . He i s not content t o be one man and not the human race. He c o n t r a d i c t s man's r e s p o n s i b i l i t y t o accept l i f e seeking t o impose h i s own moral standards on i t . A l l that remains of Henry i s the meaning of h i s l i f e i n W i l l i a m M a r s h a l l ' s mind, while the f a c t s belong t o time, and h i s l i f e belongs t o the universe. But Henry spent h i s whole l i f e working against t h i s very formlessness and l o s s of the sense of being. Fry's sense of tragedy and the t r a g i c experience echoes throughout the memory of Henry's l i f e . His tragedy i s brought about by h i s complete m i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of l i f e . His sense of pers p e c t i v e i s wrong. Richard Gettner took h i s perspec t i v e of l i f e from h i m s e l f , i n s t e a d of g e t t i n g a look at him-76 s e l f through l i f e . Moses d i d the same i n representing I s r a e l , only t o l e a r n through b i t t e r experience what Gettner had per ceived i n enlightenment. Henry does not even l e a r n what experience has t o show him, f o r he f i g h t s i t every i n c h of the way. He i s a great man i n s p i t e of the circumstances, whereas Moses was a great man because of the circumstances. He equates h i m s e l f and the young p r i n c e s w i t h the Plantagenet cause, without r e a l i s i n g t h a t what i s best f o r the country i s not what he sees as best f o r i t i n the Plantagenets. He puts k i n g s h i p and r o y a l t y before the country's cause. Nothing but good, Because the v o i c e of Plantagenet i s one v o i c e , G a l l i n g and answering along the same road. The power I g i v e them i s t r u s t and a f f e c t i o n . How Can t h i s be i l l spent? (pp. 55-56) As a r e s u l t of t h i s l a c k of p e r s p e c t i v e Henry's s t r u g g l e s f o r order reduce h i s achievements and f r u s t r a t e h i s aims i n t h e i r own anarchy so t h a t everybody t h a t stands against him stands re p r e s e n t i n g the same anarchy i n l i f e , an anarchy whose con f l i c t s become personal squabbles i n the way that the s t r u g g l e of freedom against a u t h o r i t y t h a t plagued Egypt i n The F i r s t  born a l s o became a b a t t l e of p e r s o n a l i t i e s . The d i v i n e r i g h t of kings e s t a b l i s h e d the l i f e of a n a t i o n as t h a t of the king and Henry f u r t h e r d i s t o r t s h i s own p e r s p e c t i v e by c a l l i n g the l i f e of t h a t k i n g t h a t of the Plantagenet cause. Eleanor challenges the f u t u r e of the s t a t e i n Henry's world w i t h a reminder of the world they are a l l part of (where no l i f e has more value than any other) when she says t o Becket 77 Ask y o u r s e l f where i t i s you stand, saying Where i s the King? Look round at the u n r e a l i t y of the l i g h t And the u n r e a l i t y of the faces i n the l i g h t . You and he, you t o l d him would reach a place Where you might not know what was being made of you, Or understand the c o n c l u s i o n when i t came. (pp. 43-44) The c o n f l i c t of the King and the Archbishop becomes a c o n f l i c t t hat s p l i t s the f r i e n d s h i p of Henry and Becket, and r e f l e c t s a deeper c o n f l i c t , t h a t of the State and the Church. This p a r t i c u l a r squabble reaches i t s p i t c h when Henry f e e l s t h a t B r i t a i n i s too small t o contain them both, while Eleanor wonders "who w i l l grow l a r g e enough t o contain the i s l a n d ? " (p. 47) She t r i e s t o warn Henry, but he ignores her. Let me say t h i s t o the man who makes the w o r l d — And a l s o t o the man who makes himself the Chruch. Consider complexity, d e l i g h t i n d i f f e r e n c e . Fear f o r God's sake, your exact words. Do you t h i n k you can draw l i n e s on the l i v i n g water? Together we might have made a world of progress. Between us, by our three v a r i a n t s of human nature, You and Becket and me, we could have been The complete reaching forward. . . . (p. 47) He cannot understand. Eleanor's f i n a l remarks when Henry makes a p r i s o n e r of her i n her own court describes the s i g n i f  icance of Henry's a c t i o n s and p r e d i c t s the outcome of such a r u l e . But they do not l e s s e n the tragedy of Henry's f a t a l misunderstanding. You take me back to y o u r s e l f i n the only way You know, by f o r c i b l e possession, As you took your own v i s i o n of the world With a b u r l y rape i n the d i t c h . Your hopes, t h e r e f o r e , Are born bastards, outside the laws I recognise. The t r u e law hides l i k e the marrow of the bone, Feeding us i n s e c r e t . This ' l e x non s c r i p t a ' may prove t o Not u n i t y but d i v e r s i t y , And then who w i l l be the outlaw? (p. 81) 76 You, within yourself, Are the one raped, waiting f o r punishment. The shadows w i l l only deepen f o r you. They w i l l never l i f t Again, (p. 83) In t h i s play Eleanor alone maintains a sense of perspective. She recognises "the true law . . . feeding us i n secret." She does not f i g h t Henry l i k e Becket, but submits to the system of law and form and order i n l i f e , of which a l l hap- hazardness i s a part. The paradox of Henry's l i f e l i e s i n the lawlessness of Henry's attempts to bring law and order to the anarchy of his times. And t h i s anarchy l i e s i n the state of the kingdom f o r i t i s "not nature but human nature [that] i s chaotic, s p l i t t i n g the reason away from the emotions Herein l i e s the tragedy of Henry's l i f e and the tragedy that humanity faces. It i s a question of r e a l i t i e s and truths, a l l of them being shadows of the one true r e a l i t y . Human nature i s chaotic, a shadow of nature distorted as i t f a l l s on the broken ground of reason divorced from emotion. Ex perience i s the agent that changes these forms. It i s the circumstances that r e f l e c t or d i s t o r t the image and essence of l i f e . Richard Gettner see r e a l i t y c a l l i n g f o r t h the sound of great s p i r i t s and mocking us with a wretched human capacity, (p. 45) In The Dark Is Light Enough he i s a t r a g i c f i g u r e , an unhappy figure of wretched human capacity u n t i l the sudden 48 ^ Emil Roy, "The Becket Plays," Modern Drama (December, 1965), 270/ 79 and romantic r e v e r s a l . A f t e r i t the great s p i r i t of the hero and the i n s i g h t of the s a i n t respond t o r e a l i t y making death a r e v e l a t i o n t h a t t o Fry i s comedy. But Henry i s f u l l of a wretched human c a p a c i t y t h a t mocks the r e a l i t y of i t s s t r u g g l e s f o r law and order w i t h the d i s t o r t e d r e f l e c t i o n s of i t s own lawlessness. The o r i g i n a l s p i r i t that spoke t o e a r l y Quakers, though i t transcends the l i m i t a t i o n s of any set of r e l i g i o u s p r i n  c i p l e s or b e l i e f s , sees the tragedy of the human c o n d i t i o n i n man's blindness t o experience. Where circumstances observe the l i g h t i t i s the duty of the enlightened t o educate ignorance and teach the path of t r u t h . H i s t o r i c a l l y the form of t h i s p a r t i c u l a r s p i r i t u a l endeavour came i n the context of a c i v i l i s a t i o n and c u l t u r e centred on the teachings of C h r i s t i a n i t y . But Quakers acknowledge t h a t t h i s s p i r i t appears i n many other ways. The humble, meek, m e r c i f u l , j u s t , p i o u s , and devout s o u l s are everywhere of one r e l i g i o n ; and when death has taken o f f the mask they w i l l know one another, though the d i v e r s l i v e r i e s they wear here makes them st r a n g e r s . This world i s a form; our bodies are forms; and no v i s i b l e a c t s of devotion can be without forms. But yet the l e s s form i n r e l i g i o n the b e t t e r , s i n c e God i s a S p i r i t ; f o r the more mental our worship, the more adequate t o the nature of God; the more s i l e n t , the more s u i t a b l e t o the language of a S p i r i t . 4 9 Fry's plays look at the same phenomenon, whether i t i s through the eyes of a s a i n t who sees the s p i r i t of h i s God i n the world he i n h a b i t s , through the eyes of a Roman s o l d i e r ^ C h r i s t i a n F a i t h , s e c t i o n 22?. 80 and an E p h e s i a n widcw (or an E n g l i s h c a p t a i n and a supposed w i t c h ) as l o v e s u d d e n l y l e a d s them i n t o a new l i f e , t h r o u g h t h e eyes of a d e s e r t e r t h a t a r e opened t o a r e a l i s a t i o n o f h i m s e l f t h r o u g h t h e f a i t h , t r u s t , and s e l f l e s s c o n c e r n o f an o l d woman, o r t h r o u g h t h e eyes o f a hero t h a t a r e opened t o t h e r e a l i s a t i o n t h a t t h e r e a l i t y o f h i s God i n c l u d e s a l l l i f e , b o t h good and e v i l , and t h a t i t i s not c o n f i n e d by human narrowmindedness t o one a b s o l u t e o r a n o t h e r . To Quakers and t o F r y , i n h i s p l a y s , r e l i g i o n i s s i g n i f i c a n t not f o r any p a r t i c u l a r c r e e d , but because i t s n a t u r e i s a s p e c i f i c c o n c e r n w i t h some more b a s i c i n n e r r e a l i t y . I n t h e u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f t h i s r e a l i t y p e o p l e cease t o be i n d i v i d u a l s o f u n i q u e p a s s i o n s and l i f e . I n s t e a d t h e y become e x p r e s s i o n s o f p a t t e r n s i n l i f e and f o r c e s r e s i s t a n t t o i t . F r y ' s c h a r a c t e r s a r e not p e o p l e as we know them, but a r e v e h i c l e s o f t h e l i f e t h a t t h e y c a r r y w i t h i n them. Whenever t h e y move and speak i t i s t h i s l i f e w i t h i n them t h a t speaks and a c t s . F r y ' s v i s i o n i s o f t h e cosmos, and t h e theme o f h i s p l a y s i s t h e s t r u g g l e o f humanity and i t s v i s i o n s . H i s p l a y s r e j o i c e i n t h e s e v i s i o n s as moments o f t r u t h t h a t r e s o l v e t h e c o n t r a d i c t i o n o f t h i n g s i n t h e p e r s p e c t i v e o f t h e i r r e l e v a n c e t o l i f e ' s anatomy. F r y e x p r e s s e s h i s f e e l i n g s and s e n s i b i l  i t y and b e l i e v e s i n t h e w o r t h o f such a way o f l i f e . H i s p l a y s e x p r e s s t h e p r i n c i p l e s t h a t a r e i n v o l v e d and Quakers show them t o us i n t h e p a t t e r n s o f t h e i r l i v e s . F r y i s a c o n t e m p l a t i v e man and h i s p l a y s have t o be a c c e p t e d as expressions of cosmic humanity, not r e a l i s t i c i n t e r p r e t t i o n s of a s e l f - c e n t r e d human c o n d i t i o n . APPENDIX K THE POETIC-RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE AND A CONTEMPORARY FORM OF ROMANCE DRAMA IN FRY'S PLAYS So f a r any thoughts on the verse i n Fry's dramas have been obscured by the co n s i d e r a t i o n s of the l i t e r a r y content. The poetry i s one of the most important c o n t r i b u t i o n s t o the r e l a t i o n s h i p Fry e s t a b l i s h e s between the general romance nature of h i s drama and the a f f i r m a t i o n of the mystery of exi s t e n c e . The purpose of t h i s appendix i s t o examine the way t h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p i s e s t a b l i s h e d , and t o giv e some sense of p e r s p e c t i v e t o the l i t e r a r y c o n s i d e r a t i o n s of the Quaker l i k e genius i n Fry's p l a y s . Fry belongs t o the r e v i v a l of p o e t i c drama which f i r s t s t a r t e d s t i r r i n g i n B r i t a i n w i t h W.B. Yeats at the t u r n of the nineteenth century. As a genre i t d i d not show much l i f e , o utside of what appeared on stage at the Abbey Theatre, u n t i l the 1930's and the verse plays of Auden and Isherwood. Following T.S. E l i o t ' s f i r s t p lay i n 1935, Murder i n the  Cat h e d r a l , verse drama was a t h r i v i n g form u n t i l the f i f t i e s . But, though poets and playwrights l i k e Stephen Spender, Norman Ni c h o l s o n , Ronald Duncan, Anne R i d l e r , P a t r i c D i c k i n  son and Donagh MacDonagh gave evidence of the i n c r e a s i n g i n t e r e s t i n po e t i c drama, only E l i o t and Fry have achieved any s t a t u r e i n t h i s f i e l d . These two and Charles W i l l i a m s d i f f e r e d considerably from verse dramatists as a whole, 63 because t h e i r drama was a l s o r e l i g i o u s . E l i o t and W i l l i a m s were b o t h c o n v e r t s t o t h e Church o f E n g l a n d , and became p o e t s o f a r e l i g i o u s e x p e r i e n c e t h a t v e r g e s on t h e m y s t i c a l . ^ " They f o r m u l a t e d t h i s e x p e r i e n c e i n terms o f o r t h o d o x C h r i s t i a n f a i t h as i n t e r p r e t e d by t h e C a t h o l i c t r a d i t i o n o f t h e Church o f E n g l a n d . E l i o t went t o h i s c o n v e r s i o n and H i g h Church A n g l i c a n i s m t h r o u g h t h e P u r i  t a n t r a d i t i o n o f New E n g l a n d , S a n s k r i t , and I n d i a n r e l i g i o u s t h o u g h t — t h e Way o f R e j e c t i o n and t h e M e d i e v a l M o n a s t i c i d e a l o f t h e c l o i s t e r e d c o n t e m p l a t i v e . W i l l i a m s went on a d i f f e r e n t r o u t e , by way o f t h e R o s i c r u c i a n s and s t u d i e s o f c e r e m o n i a l magic, c a b a l i s m , alchemy and t h e o c c u l t i n t h e manner o f Y e a t s . W i t h A.E. W a i t e ' s books as h i s s o u r c e , and E. U n d e r h i l l and m y s t i c i s m as a c o n t a c t , he went from t h e vague and t r i v i a l f a n t a s i e s o f t h e o c c u l t t o a l i v i n g t r a d i t i o n o f C h r i s t i a n o r t h o d o x y — t h e Way o f A f f i r m a t i o n and t h e i m p l i e d b e l i e f i n t h e r e l e v a n c e and d i g n i t y o f t h e m a t e r i a l c r e a t i o n and t h e p o s s i b i l i t y o f u l t i m a t e r e d e m p t i o n . F r y , however, was b o r n and brought up r e l i g i o u s , be coming a Quaker i n h i s y o u t h — c o m p l e t e l y out of t h e l i n e o f o r t h o d o x d o c t r i n e . These t h r e e d r a m a t i s t s s t a r t e d t h e i r p l a y w r i g h t i n g c a r e e r s i n a s i m i l a r way as r e g a r d s f o r m ( c h u r c h f e s t i v a l drama s t a g e d w i t h i n a r i t u a l i s t i c , o r John Heath-Stubbs, C h a r l e s W i l l i a m s (London: Longmans and Green, 1955), p. 11. A l l t h e b i o g r a p h i c a l i n f o r m a t i o n i n t h i s p a r a g r a p h comes f r o m t h i s p u b l i c a t i o n , pp. 11-15. 84 formal framework), but soon went t h e i r ways t o di s c o v e r "those images of human experience i n which the d e s i r e d r e l i g i o u s design can be so achieved p o e t i c a l l y , t h a t what 2 i s palpable i s p o e t i c and not r e l i g i o u s i n purpose." But even at the beginning the character of Fry's f e s t i v a l pageant, The Boy With A C a r t , was very d i f f e r e n t from t h i s same form i n T.S. E l i o t ' s Murder i n the Cathedral and the beginning of Charles W i l l i a m s more mature work—Thomas Cranmer of Canterbury, and i t precluded the r e s t of h i s drama. An u n s o p h i s t i c a t e d p a s t o r a l w i t h a genuine r e l i g i o u s m o t i v a t i o n , i t l a c k s the s e n t i m e n t a l i t y and pageantry so 3 o f t e n apparent i n E l i o t and W i l l i a m s . The d i r e c t n e s s of the v i s i o n appears i n the d i r e c t n e s s of the d i c t i o n , w h i l e the poetry i s f e l t through the evocation of the moods of nature. Instead of the s u b t l e , s o p h i s t i c a t e d , and complex r e l i g i o u s pageantry of the other two, i t speaks of the country and i t s l o v e l i n e s s from the depths of a l i f e at one w i t h nature and the coun t r y s i d e , and i t s l i f e g i v e s some t h i n g of t h a t d i r e c t v i s i o n of God w i t h which Cuthman i s characterised.^" Fry uses poetry i n h i s dramas as the v e h i c l e f o r h i s p o e t i c passages, f o r h i s w i t , puns, bathos, and humorous 2 I b i d . 3 John Ferguson,,. "The Boy With A C a r t , " Modern Drama, V I I I (December, 1965) i 288. 4 I b i d . , pp. 288 and 291. 65 but impersonal vituperation, rhapsodic love, and f a m i l i a r i t y with death and violence. The value he finds i n verse i s rhythm and a tension that realism cannot achieve. We l i v e with our feet i n two d i f f e r e n t worlds at the same time, he says. It i s t h i s tension between two meanings which verse conveys, favoring sometimes one, sometimes the other. The prosaic or c o l l o q u i a l can be rhythmically just s u f f i c i e n t l y charged to resolve into the implication of verse at a moment's notice, even halfway through a sentence, and back again, without disturbing the unity of the speech, i n the way that the s p i r i t and f l e s h work i n ourselves without noticeably sawing us i n half. 5 Stephen Spender f e e l s that Fry dazzles himself with a strong sense of what can be done with words, but without a sense of the words themselves, so that death and love, crime and virt u e are a l l juxtaposed i n joking language—so that any attempt at achieving a p o e t i c a l i t y of purpose that replaces the s p e c i f i c a l l y r e l i g i o u s i s l o s t . ^ But t h i s juxtaposition i s part of Fry's purpose. He uses poetry to make us more aware of l i f e , and i n An Experience of C r i t i c s he shows that behind the image of "a man r e e l i n g intoxicated with words" 7 i s his long and p a i n f u l labouring. He sees words as an ornament on the meaning and not the meaning i t s e l f and says Christopher Fry, "Why Verse," Playwrights on Play- wrighting, ed. Toby Cole (New York: H i l l and Wang, 1962J, pp. 129-130. ^Stephen Spender, "Christopher Fry," The Spectator, CLXXXIV (March 24, 1950), 364. 7 Christopher Fry, An Experience of C r i t i c s (New York: Oxford University Press, 1953) , pp. 23-24. 86 t h a t j u s t as comedy i s a world of i t s own, "so a verse p l a y i s not a prose play which happens t o be w r i t t e n i n v e r s e . " Poetry i s the language i n which man explores h i s own amazement. I t i s the language i n which he says heaven and earth i n one word. I t i s the language i n which he speaks of h i m s e l f and h i s predicament as though f o r the f i r s t time. I t has the v i r t u e of being able t o say twice as much as prose i n h a l f the time, and . . . i f you do not happen t o g i v e i t your f u l l a t t e n t i o n , of seeming to say h a l f as much i n twice the time. And i f you accept my p r o p o s i t i o n t h a t r e a l i t y i s a l t o g e t h e r d i f f e r e n t from our s t a l e view of i t , we can say that poetry i s the language of r e a l i t y . 9 Poetry and the t o t a l s t r u c t u r e of c h a r a c t e r , d e s c r i p t i o n , stage s e t t i n g and a c t i o n are inseparable and t o understand one i s t o understand a l l , f o r "the poetry i s the a c t i o n , and the a c t i o n i s the f i g u r e of the poetry."x® Fry's drama belongs t o the romantic comedy genre, a form t h a t has been non-existent s i n c e the times of Shake speare and F l e t c h e r as f a r as the E n g l i s h t h e a t r e i s con cerned. J.H. Adler ( i n "Shakespeare and Christopher Fry") f e e l s t h a t i t i s the u n f a m i l i a r i t y w i t h t h i s genre t h a t l i e s behind the adverse c r i t i c i s m and bewilderment Fry has caused i n some c i r c l e s . x x M.K. Spears' a r t i c l e "Christopher Fry ^ I b i d . , p. 26. Q 'Christopher Fry, "How L o s t , How Amazed, How Miraculous We Are," Theatre A r t s (August, 1952), 73. 1 G F r y , An Experience of C r i t i c s (New York, 1953), p.27. ^ E d u c a t i o n Theatre J o u r n a l , I I (May, 1959), 85 and 87. Further references t o romantic comedy and Fry are a l s o con s i d e r a t i o n s d e r i v e d from the nature of romantic comedy and d e f i n i t i o n s of tragicomedy i n the s i x t e e n t h and seventeenth c e n t u r i e s i n England. Sources f o r t h i s were F.H. R i s t i n e , 67 and the Redemption of Joy" i s a most p e r t i n e n t example of t h i s s i n c e i t speaks s p e c i f i c a l l y of fantasy and romance 12 i n Fry's p l a y s . Spears f e e l s t h a t Fry's c e n t r a l weakness i s a romanticism manifested i n a k i n d of ingenuous immatur i t y , i n a r e f u s a l t o accept l i m i t a t i o n s and r e s t r a i n t and the u n w i l l i n g n e s s t o subordinate h i m s e l f t o the dramatic medium, (p. 43) His other o b j e c t i o n i s t o Fry's r e v e r s a l of comedy from the t r a d i t i o n a l r i d i c u l e of f o l l i e s and v i c e s upholding the c i v i l i s e d norm against the i n d i v i d u a l ' s w i l f u l departure from i t , t o a r i d i c u l e of v i r t u e and i d e a l i s m as c y n i c a l r e a l i s m and w o r l d l y m a t e r i a l i s m , (p. 29) He makes custom, convention, common sense and w o r l d l y wisdom r i d i c u l o u s , r e  deeming joy from them and a s s o c i a t i n g i t w i t h the s p i r i t u a l and i d e a l i s t i c , (p. 30) However, t h i s i s i n f a c t a l l very compatible and r e l e v a n t t o Fry's i n t e n t i o n s . Adler con s i d e r s i t as another point i n h i s argument, when he says t h a t "romantic comedy i s very appropriate f o r a v i s i o n of the world t h a t i s one of joy accepting a v i s i o n t i n g e d w i t h mystery and an awareness of e v i l . " (p. 93) The problems Spears sees c o n f r o n t i n g t h i s type of comedy are a c t u a l l y E n g l i s h Tragicomedy (New York: R u s s e l l & R u s s e l l , I963) and Madeleine Doran, Endeavours of A r t (Madison, Wisconsin: U n i v e r s i t y of Wisconsin P r e s s , 1964) , pp. 186-206. 1 2 P o e t r y , LXXVIII ( A p r i l , 1951), 28 - 4 3 . The argument i n t h i s paragraph comes from t h i s a r t i c l e and Adler's a r t i c l e (already c i t e d ) . Adler's comparisons of Fry and Shakespeare are a comparison t o Shakespeare's romantic comedies e x c l u  s i v e l y . Both belong t o the same genre. (Page references bracketed i n t e x t . ) 83 a i d s t h a t c o n t r i b u t e t o Fry's p l a y s , t h e r e f o r e . I t i s no problem i f the theme has t o go beyond comedy and tragedy t o a t t a i n a cosmic or m y s t i c a l p e r s p e c t i v e , or i f the theme of our annual l i f e i s not taken s e r i o u s l y , f o r the fantasy adds t o the romantic comedy. Nor i s comedy i n danger of being too f r e e i n having t o go beyond tragedy and comedy and human l i f e i f cosmic joy i s the norm. There i s nothing p e r i l o u s about a romantic admiration f o r strangeness and wonder and a d e n i a l of e v i l ' s e x i s t e n c e , f o r Fry's most d i r e c t way of s t i m u l a t i n g a f e e l i n g of "how l o s t , how amazed, how miraculous we a r e " i s by d e a l i n g w i t h l i t e r a l m i r a c l e s , wonder, romantic endings, and p l o t s where c o n f l i c t i s not e x t e r n a l (and i f i t i s the audience knows that i t w i l l melt away t o g i v e a happier ending on the whole). When Spears concludes w i t h a remark th a t Fry's plays are " t h e m a t i c a l l y s u p e r f i c i a l i n t h a t the triumph i s asserted and not earned," and t h a t they do not redeem joy but a f f i r m i t , he does not seem t o r e a l i s e t h a t t h i s i s not v a l i d c r i t i c i s m at a l l . (p. 43) With a b e t t e r sense of p e r s p e c t i v e , Adler comments th a t Fry's romantic comedy, l i k e Shakespeare's, has a per v a s i v e i n t e l l e c t u a l content that i s d i f f i c u l t t o reduce t o a formula, and which a f f i r m s without s e n t i m e n t a l i t y , e x i s t  in g f o r the d e l i g h t t o be d e r i v e d from the a f f i r m a t i o n , (p.87) In t h e i r r e v i v a l of p o e t i c drama E l i o t and Fry were " t r y i n g t o e s t a b l i s h verse not f o r i t s own sake," but 89 13 because i t could "deal w i t h the fundamentals." J I t i s a scheme i n which the p u b l i c mind can be s l o w l y r e c o n d i t i o n e d to the mystery. Both E l i o t and Fry s t r e s s the idea t h a t form i s e s s e n t i a l t o the p r e s e n t a t i o n of a permanent t r u t h and the form of Fry's drama i s romantic comedy. Fry's i n t e n t i o n s f i n d no problems i n belonging t o t h i s genre f o r both are c h a r a c t e r i s e d by a c e r t a i n atmosphere of joyous l i f e and an escape i n t o a d e l i g h t f u l imaginary world i n which problems are i l l o g i c a l , p h y s i c a l dangers u n r e a l , language h i g h l y p o e t i c and the people s o l i d , t r u e and genuine. x^ I t i s very t h e a t r i c a l , as any tendency t o fantasy i s , and, as a r e s u l t , as e n t e r t a i n i n g as romantic comedy's excitement, s p e c t a c l e and s u r p r i s e were t o Shakespeare's and F l e t c h e r ' s audiences, f o r i f the t h e a t r e can help us t o see ourselves and the world f r e s h l y , as though we had j u s t rounded the corner i n t o l i f e , i t w i l l be what entertainment should be, a h o l i d a y which se t s us up t o continue l i v i n g at the top of our bent.15 I b e l i e v e the need f o r poetry i s an e s s e n t i a l part of the human c o n d i t i o n . . . . Surely the business of the t h e a t r e i s the e x p l o r a t i o n of t h a t nature, so t h a t the l i s t e n e r can perhaps be aware of more about himself?16 And as f o r the other world, other time, other place s e t t i n g s of romantic comedy, •'Adler, op. c i t . , p. 95. 1 4 I b i d . , p. 86. 15 Fry, "How L o s t , How Amazed, How Miraculous We Are," Theatre A r t s (August, 1952), 73- l 6 C h r i s t o p h e r F r y , " T a l k i n g of Henry," The Twentieth  Century, CLXIX (February, 1961), 190. 9 0 there's something to be gained by being sometimes at one remove from today—you can get a clearer look at what you might c a l l the permanent condition of man— and I can never r e a l l y see more than minor d i s t i n c t i o n s between the past and the present, differences i n kind rather than being. The immediate threat to l i f e was the same, b a s i c a l l y , i n the time of the Black Death. The H-bomb presents the same moral dilemma with which man i s always being confronted.17 In t h i s thesis we have seen how a l l Fry's plays are parts of a whole, and that as a combination of the r e l i g i o u s and pagan they have i n common the r e l i g i o u s s p i r i t of t h e i r author's preoccupations with the mystery of existence. Through the c o n f l i c t s of l i f e , death, and love comes the inner struggle of b e l i e f and doubt where l i f e i s the theme and where unity resolves the contradictions to i t i n each play's mood. L i f e i s a s p i r i t everywhere, exuberant through love and joy and i n s i s t e n t i n freedom and b e l i e f , and a l l Fry's plays a f f i r m t h i s l i f e . In t h i s , we have also seen how they p a r a l l e l Quakerism, where the s p i r i t speaks from behind the form, where every deed finds i t s perspective i n the s p i r i t u a l l i f e , and where the sanctity of l i f e rever berates i n the insistence on respect f o r l i f e , humanitarian- ism and the nourishment of inner l i f e on revelation. With a mystical b e l i e f i n the goodness of a l l l i f e that i s most Quakerly, Fry's plays study the metaphysics of the human condition and, though he i s not a mystic, his plays trace the form of the mystery as the theme within the plot and i n the pattern of ideas i n the mood. And now, f i n a l l y , 1 7 I b i d . , p. 169-9 1 we see that the ideas i n Fry's plays are enhanced by t h e i r dramatic form, as entertaining romance drama, and a t r a g i  comic development of comedy from tragedy (both as the formal seventeenth century comic ending from t r a g i c events, and as Fry's cosmic i n t u i t i o n from experience). This affirms the poet i c - r e l i g i o u s concern with the mystery of creation i n Fry's plays. The p a r a l l e l to the Quaker position i s present here at just as fundamental a l e v e l as i t i s i n a l i t e r a r y context. Carried to a natural conclusion, the Quakerly way of l i f e presumes a s i m i l a r happy ending—the joy of insight and of divine revelation through the development of i n t u i t i o n from experience and a direc t r e l i g i o u s concern with the mystery of creation. In the l i g h t of a lack.of discrimination between the sacred and secular i n l i f e , t h i s f i n a l equation of the poetic and r e l i g i o u s experience i n Fry i s an i d e n t i f i c a t i o n that Quakerism would seem to make and depend on. From the i n i t i a l separateness of theology and aesthetics the discussion of Quakerism and Fry has brought us to an examination of l i f e and art and the common source of the r e l i g i o u s and poetic experience. That they have i n t h i s l a s t chapter apparently resolved themselves i n t h e i r common derivation i s not an attempt to deny the difference trabween the r e l i g i o u s and poetic. It i s instead a s h i f t i n perspective. Throughout the t h e s i s my intention has been to lay the Quaker position alongside Fry's, as i n Chapter I, and to t a l k of Quakerli-92 ness side by si d e w i t h Fry's p l a y s , as i n Chapter I I . In Chapter I I e s t a b l i s h e d t h e i r s i m i l a r nature and concerns from an i n t e l l e c t u a l and l i t e r a r y point of view. Here, I . have attempted t o r e t u r n t o these s i m i l a r i t i e s at "the most fundamental p o i n t , t h e i r o r i g i n , w i t h the idea of a r t i n the image of l i f e and the f a c t that the p o e t i c and r e l i g i o u s experiences are a l i k e . Poetry i s a l l i e d t o mysticism ( i n the sense of the t r u e contemplative) and stands t o i t i n the r e l a t i o n of the sketch t o the f i n a l work of a r t . . . . In the n a t u r a l order of t h i n g s . . . i t i s an analogue of the m y s t i c a l experience which i t resembles and i m i t a t e s from afar.18 Poetry and r e l i g i o n are equated l i k e a r t i f i c e and experience by W i l d e r , who declares that "the poet sees hi m s e l f s o l e l y as a craftsman," though as a man he may know the r e l i g i o u s 19 experience. "The r e l i g i o u s l i f e i n v o l v e s our t o t a l response t o the unconditioned," w h i l s t "the a e s t h e t i c l i f e moves t o - 20 ward the shaping of the work of a r t . " As an a r t poetry takes i t s own d i r e c t i o n though i t "takes i t s b i r t h at the mysterious sources of being and a f t e r i t s own f a s h i o n r e - 21 ve a l s them by i t s own c r e a t i v e movement." Therefore, i n the u l t i m a t e experience t h a t animates poetry the poet f i n d s h i m s e l f on r e l i g i o u s ground. 18 Amos N. Wil d e r , Modern Poetry and the C h r i s t i a n  T r a d i t i o n (New York: Charles S c r i b n e r ' s , 1952), pp. 12 and 13. 1 9 I b i d . , p. 15. 20 I b i d . , p. 3. 21 ^ x I b i d . 93 At the end of the s e c t i o n on The Dark I s L i g h t Enough (Chapter I I ) i n a quotation from C h r i s t i a n F a i t h on the conventional d i s t i n c t i o n between sacred and s e c u l a r a r t , a more f r u i t f u l d i s t i n c t i o n between i n s p i r e d a r t and unin s p i r e d a r t i s suggested. I n s p i r a t i o n opens the doors of r e v e l a t i o n , and, i n terms of the po e t i c and r e l i g i o u s experiences, i n s p i r a t i o n i s the common, h i g h l y personal source. The terms sacred and s e c u l a r r e f e r merely t o subject matter. I b e l i e v e t h a t Fry touches on such r e l i g i o u s poetry by h i s Quakerlike concerns w i t h a way of l i f e t hat r e v o l v e s around v i s i o n s of the mystery of exist e n c e . Further more, he f i r m l y b e l i e v e s i n p o e t i c experience and i n s p i r a t i o n as w e l l as p o e t i c language and e f f e c t s as the t r u e means of grasping and expressing the t r u t h of r e a l i t y and the s p i r i t of the mystery, and he uses the i d e a l mechanics of romance drama t o a f f i r m both the joyous and the miraculous i n a world of dramatic mystery, exuberant l i f e and e x c i t i n g v i s i o n s . APPENDIX B JLETTER FROM CHRISTOPHER FRY TO IAIN KIRKALDY-WILLIS' • ; —'^CONCERNING THIS THESIS "' ' • " 37 B L G M F I E L D R O A D L O N D O N "W 9 Aly*>M<k '• 1364- ^ / « £ ^  J w v ^ c i r . ^ . ^ Y C ' / A ' C ' i l r ' r _ . f "~~ IVOR'S J"-r«?7>v ^lyK»<5w- T V ? ' ' t / ^ e . ^ -nrc(£<:>&• if WORKS CONSULTED 1. P r i m a r y Sources a. Dramas F r y , C h r i s t o p h e r . The Boy W i t h A C a r t . London: F r e d e r i c k M u l l e r L t d . , 1357. F i r s t p u b l i s h e d by t h e O x f o r d U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s i n 1939. . C u r t m a n t l e . London: O x f o r d U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1961. C o p y r i g h t e d 1961. . The Dark I s L i g h t - E n o u g h . London: O x f o r d u n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1954. _________ The L a d y 1 s Not F o r B u r n i n g . London: O x f o r d U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1963. C o p y r i g h t e d 1943. F i r s t e d i t i o n 1949. . A P h o e n i x Too F r e q u e n t . London: O x f o r d U n i v e r  s i t y P r e s s , i 9 6 0 . F i r s t p u b l i s h e d by H o l l i s C a r t e r i n 1946. > Three P l a y s . London: O x f o r d U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , I 9 6 0 . P r e v i o u s l y p u b l i s h e d s e p a r a t e l y as The F i r s t  b o r n , f i r s t p u b l i s h e d by t h e Cambridge U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s i n 1946, Thor W i t h A n g e l s , f i r s t p u b l i s h e d by H.J. Goulden L t d . i n 1943, and A S l e e p o f P r i s o n e r s , c o p y r i g h t e d , and p u b l i s h e d by tEe O x f o r d - U n i v e r s i t y P r e P r e s s i n 1951. •. Venus Observed. London: O x f o r d U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1957. C o p y r i g h t e d 1949. F i r s t e d i t i o n 1950. b. Non-dramatic w r i t i n g s F r y , C h r i s t o p h e r . An E x p e r i e n c e o f C r i t i c s . New Y o r k : O x f o r d U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1953. C o p y r i g h t e d 1952. . "Heat," L i f e and L e t t e r s Today, XXXIV (August, 1942), 122. A poem. 97 . "The L o v e r s , " L i f e and L e t t e r s Today, XXXV T N O V e m b e r , 1 9 4 2 ) , 8 0 . A poem. . " E l e g y o f t h e F o u r t h Month, L i f e and L e t t e r s Today, XXXVII ( A p r i l , 1 9 4 3 ) , 23. A poem. . "Cock i n a Shower," London M e r c u r y t No. 3 8 , August, 1 9 3 8 , p. 3G7. A poem " t o R a n t o b u s s i . " . " C h r i s t m a s F a i t h , " M c C a l l s , IX (December, 1 9 6 2 ) , 3 . A poem. . "The P l a y o f I d e a s , " New Statesman and N a t i o n , XXXIX ( A p r i l 2 2 , 1 9 5 0 ) , 4 5 8 T " . "Drama i n a House o f Wo r s h i p , " The New York Times, October 1 4 , 1 9 5 1 , Sec. I I , 2 . " A u t h o r ' s S t r u g g l e , " The New York Times, F e b r u a r y FT 1 9 5 5 , Sec. I I , i i i , 1 . "Why Verse,?" P l a y w r i g h t s on P l a y w r i g h t i n g , ed. Toby C o l e . New York: H i l l and Wang, 1 9 6 2 . P r e v i o u s l y i n Vogue, CXXV (March 1 , 1 9 5 5 ) , 1 3 6 - 1 3 7 . . " L e t t e r s t o an A c t o r P l a y i n g Hamlet," Shakespeare Survey, ed. A l l a r d y c e N i c o l l . Cambridge: a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y P r e s s , 1 9 5 2 . . "How L o s t , How Amazed, How M i r a c u l o u s We A r e , " T h e a t r e A r t s , XXXVI (August, 1 9 5 2 ) , 2 7 . A l s o appeared as " P o e t r y i n t h e T h e a t r e " i n S a t u r d a y Review, XXXVI (March 2 1 , 1 9 5 3 ) , 1 8 - 1 9 . . "Comedy," Tulane Drama Review, I V , i i i (March, I 9 6 0 ) , 7 7 - 7 9 . F i r s t appeared i n A d e l p h i (London), XXVII (November, 1 9 5 0 ) , 2 7 - 2 9 . . "Redbreast i n t h e Snow," The T w e n t i e t h C e n t u r y , CLXIX ( F e b r u a r y , 1 9 6 1 ) , 2 1 8 . A poem. . " T a l k i n g o f Henry," The T w e n t i e t h C e n t u r y , CLXIX "(February, 1 9 6 1 ) , 1 8 5 - 1 9 0 . . "On Keeping t h e Sense o f Wonder," Vogue, CXXVII "[January, 1 9 5 6 ) , 1 2 2 . . " C h r i s t m a s T r a n s f o r m a t i o n , " Vogue, CXXV I I I "[December, 1 9 5 6 ) , 1 0 6 - 1 0 7 . 98 . "Enjoying the A c c i d e n t a l , " Vogue, CXXVIII (October, 1957), 92. I I . Secondary Sources a. L i t e r a r y and C r i t i c a l ( i ) Books Brock, Donald. The Romance of the E n g l i s h Theatre. London: R o c k c l i f f ,~I352~I Current Biography, 1951, ed.. Anna Rothe. New York: The H.W. Wilson Co., 1954. Doran, Madeleine. Endeavours of A r t : A study of form i n E l i z a b e t h a n drama. Madison: U n i v e r s i t y of Wisconsin Pr e s s , 1964. F r a s e r , G.S. The Modern W r i t e r and h i s World. Penguin, 1964. Gassner, John. Masters of the Drama. Dover P u b l i c a t i o n s Inc. Reprinted by s p e c i a l permission of Random House Inc. (n.d.) _. The Theatre i n Our Times: A survey of the men, m a t e r i a l s and movements i n the modern t h e a t r e . New York: Crown P u b l i s h e r s Inc., 1955. Greene, Anne. " P r i e s t l e y , B r i d i e and Fry: The Mystery of Existence In Their Dramatic Works." Ph.D. d i s s e r t a  t i o n at the U n i v e r s i t y of Wisconsin, 1957. Heath-Stubbs, John. Charles W i l l i a m s . London: Longmans, Green & Co. (published f o r The B r i t i s h C o u n c i l and the N a t i o n a l Book League), 1955. Heiney, Donald W. E s s e n t i a l s of Contemporary L i t e r a t u r e . New York: Barron's E d u c a t i o n a l S e r i e s , Inc., 1954- Highet, G i l b e r t . People, Places and Books. New York: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y P ress, 1953. Hobson, Harold. The Theatre Now. London: Theatre Book Club, 1954. .' V e r d i c t at Midnight. London: Longmans, Green and~~Co. , 1952. 99 K e r r , Walter. Pieces at E i g h t . New York: Simon & Schuster, 1957. Lumley, F r e d e r i c k . Trends i n 20th Century Drama. London: R o c k l i f f , 19561 Nathan, George Jean. The Theatre i n the F i f t i e s . New York: A l f r e d A. Knopf ,"T^53~I " R i s t i n e , Frank Humphrey. E n g l i s h Tragicomedy: i t s o r i g i n  and h i s t o r y . New York: R u s s e l l & R u s s e l l Inc., 1963. Scott-James, R.A. F i f t y Years of E n g l i s h L i t e r a t u r e : 1900- 1950 (with a p o s t s c r i p t — 1 9 5 1 - 1 9 5 5 ) . London: Longmans, Sta n f o r d , Derek. Christopher Fry Album. London: Peter N e v i l l L t d . , 1952. Christopher Fry: An A p p r e c i a t i o n . London: Peter N e v i l l Ltd., 1952. Christopher Fry. London: Longmans, Green & Co., f o r the B r i t i s h Council and National Book League, 1954. Twentieth Century Authors t F i r s t Supplement, ed. Stanley J. Kunitzl New York: The H.W. Wilson Company, 1955. Wefer, Marion. "Developments i n Religious Drama," Religious  Symbolism, ed. F. Ernest Johnson. New York and London: Harper and Brothers, 1955. Whiting, Frank M. An Introduction to the Theatre. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1954. Who's Who 1965. London:- Adam & Charles Black, New York: The Macmillan Company. Wilder, Amos N. Modern Poetry and the C h r i s t i a n T r a d i t i o n : a study i n the r e l a t i o n of C h r i s t i a n i t y . t o culture. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1952. Theology and Modern Li t e r a t u r e . Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1958. ( i i ) P eriodicals J u l i e , S i s t e r . "Do We Dare Try Medieval Plays," America, LXXXV (July 21, 1951), 399-401. 100 Staram, Rudolf. "Christopher Fry and the Revolt Against Realism i n Modern E n g l i s h Drama," A n g l i a , LXXII (1954), 78-109. P a l e t t e , Drew B. " E l i o t , Fry and Broadway," Arizona Q u a r t e r l y , XI (Winter, 1955) , 342-347. Hobson, Harold. " P o e t i c Drama Ascendant," The C h r i s t i a n  Science Monitor Magazine, March 25 , 1950, p. 4 . Parks, John Horace. "Fry and Casona: A Comparison," D i s s e r t a t i o n A b s t r a c t s , 21 , No. 3459- Roy, Emil Lawrence. " S t r u c t u r e , C h a r a c t e r i s a t i o n , and Lang uage i n the Drama of Christopher Fry," D i s s e r t a t i o n  A b s t r a c t s , 22 , No. 1631. A d l e r , J.H. "Shakespeare and Christopher F r y , " Education  Theatre J o u r n a l , 11 (May, 1959) , 85-98. Donoghue, Denis. "Christopher Fry's Theatre of Words," Essays i n C r i t i c i s m , IX, i (January, 1959), 37-49. Mandel, 0 . "Theme i n the Drama of Christopher F r y , " Etudes  A n g l a i s , X (1957), 335-349. Trewin, J.C. "The World of the Theatre: Make-Believe," I l l u s t r a t e d London News, CCXVI (February 11, 1950) , P h i l i p s , Ronald. "The Church and Drama," London Q u a r t e r l y  and Hoborn Review, J u l y , 194#, pp. 213-17. Alexander, John. "Christopher Fry and R e l i g i o u s Comedy," Mean.jin, XV, i (Autumn, 1956) , 77-81. St a n f o r d , Derek. "Comedy and Tragedy i n Christopher F r y , " Modern Drama, I I , i (May, 1959),. 3 - 7 . Greene, Anne. "Fry's Cosmic V i s i o n , " Modern Drama, IV, i v (February, 1962) , 355-364- C a r n e l l , Corbin S. "Creation's Lonely F l e s h : T.S. E l i o t and Christopher Fry on the L i f e of the Senses," Modern Drama, V I , i i (September, 1963) , 141-149- Roy, Emil. "The Becket P l a y s : E l i o t , Fry and A n o i u l h , " Modern  Drama, V I I I , i i i (December, 1965) , 269-276. 1G1 Ferguson, John. "The Boy With A C a r t , " Modern Drama, V I I I , i i i (December, 1965), 284-292. Wiersma, Stanley M. "A Phoenix Too Frequent: A Study i n Source and Symbol," Modern Drama, V I I I , i i i (December, 1965), 293-302. Scott-James, R.A. "Christopher Fry's P o e t i c Drama," Nation, GLXXI (October 7, 1950), 315-316. Browne, E. M a r t i n . " R e l i g i o u s Drama Since 1939," The N a t i o n a l and E n g l i s h Review, CXXXVIII (March, 1952), 160-162. Spears, Monroe K. "Christopher Fry and the Redemption of Joy," Poetry, LXXVIII ( A p r i l , 1951), 23-43. Spender, Stephen. "Christopher Fry," The Spectator, CLXXXIV (March 24, 1950), 364-365. Lecky, E l e a z e r . "Mystery i n the Plays of Christopher F r y , " Tulane Drama Review, IV, i i i (March, I960), 30-87. Schear, Bernice Larson and Eugene G. P r a t e r . "A B i b l i o g r a p h y on Christopher F r y , " - Tulane Drama Review, IV, i i i (March, I960), 33-93. Lutyens, David Bulwer. "The Dilemma of the C h r i s t i a n Drama t i s t : Paul Claudel and Christopher F r y , " Tulane Drama  Review, VI, i v (June, 1962), 113-124. b. R e l i g i o u s Background Brayshaw, A. Neave. The Quakers, Their Story and Message. London: The Swarthmoor Pre s s , 1927. B r i n t o n , Howard Haines. Friends f o r 300 Years: the h i s t o r y  and b e l i e f s of the S o c i e t y of Friends s i n c e George  Fox s t a r t e d the Quaker Movement. New York: Harper and Brothers, 1952. C h r i s t i a n F a i t h and P r a c t i c e i n the Experience of the S o c i e t y  0 x > F r i e n d s . London: Heaclley Brothers L t d . , 1963. H i b b e r t , Gerald K. Quaker Fundamentals. London: Fr i e n d s House. Inge, The Very Rev. W.R. Mysticism i n R e l i g i o n . London: Hutchinson's U n i v e r s i t y L i b r a r y . (n.d.) 102 Jones, Rufus M. O r i g i n a l Quakerism a Movement, Not a Sect. The Isaac T. and Lydia K. Johnson Lecture, 1945. Given before the f i v e year Meeting of Friends i n America i n session, October 18, 1945, at Richmond, Indiana. . Studies i n Mystical Religion. London: Macmillan and Go., Limited, 1909. Loukes, Harold. Community and Encounter: the Quaker c o n t r i  bution to the Church. London: Friends House. . Friends Face Reality. London: the Bannisdale P r e s s , 1954. Pike, E. Royston. Encyclopaedia of Religion and Religions. New York: Meridian Books, 19o"4. Pointing, Horace B. The Society of Friends: A short account  of i t s h i s t o r y , b e l i e f s , and practice. London: Friends House, 1953. The Quaker Reader. Selected and introduced by Jessamyn West. New York: Viking Press, 1962. Spencer, Sidney. Mysticism i n World Religion. Penguin, 1963. Sykes, John. The Quakers: A new look at t h e i r place i n society. Philadelphia and New York: J.B. Lippincott, . 1959. Towards a Quaker View of Sex. An essay by a group of Friends. London: Friends Home Service Committee, 1964. Underbill, Evelyn. Mysticism: A study i n the nature and development of man's s p i r i t u a l consciousness. London: Methuen & Co. Ltd., 1945- Watts, Alan W. Myth and R i t u a l i n C h r i s t i a n i t y . London: Thames and Hudson, 1954. P e r i o d i c a l s Vining, Elizabeth Gray. "Rufus Jones. Teacher," Friends  Journal, IX, i i (January 15, 19o3) , 29-30. 

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