Dramatic Worksheet for Sweeny Todd
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The play “Sweeney Todd: the demon barber of Fleet Street” is a well-scripted play, at times brutal and horrific but which I like anyways as it portrays the irony of life. I like the play also as it depicts the harsh realities of life, giving us a breather from the traditional happily ever after stories.
The words that are evoked by reading the play are that Life is not fair. However, justice is served to all even if it is done in a cruel and twisted way as in this play’s end Sweeney Todd not only kills his enemy but also himself and his wife (who was assumed to be dead).
The premise of the play Sweeney Todd is that lust for power, love and revenge is present in everybody and it is only the situation in which a person that brings it out of him.
The exposition of the play is “ The ballad of Sweeney Todd”, in which the lead character is been buried and at his burial scene, this slow musical acts as a prelude to the awful story that is to be unfolded. The musical, “A barber and his wife” is also a part of the exposition as it provides insight and background to the whole play.
The whole introductory ballad is so powerful that entices a viewer to watch the whole play. The inciting moment of the play comes in its exposition when the lead character is been introduced as “Attend the tale of Sweeny Todd.”(The ballad of Sweeney Todd). This particular opening sentence of the play grabs the attention of the viewer and the lyrics of the whole exposition completes the suspense and catches undivided attention of the viewer who by this time is filled with curiosity.
The rising action is the shaving contest between Sweeney Todd and Adolpho Pirelli, which is judged by the villain, Beadle Bamford (an aid of evil Judge Turpin). Todd wins the contest and invites Beadle and Judge Turpin for a shave at his parlor. However, circumstances don’t allow him to take his revenge; Anthony and Todd’s daughter fall in love, at this point Judge Turpin commits Johanna to asylum.
The play reaches its climax when Todd invites Turpin to his saloon using Johanna as bait. Bamford also at the same time comes to check on this strange odor that has been spreading in the town and the mad women, who has been nagging Todd all along also enters the scene. Todd kills all three of them and throws their bodies in the burning furnace. This is the climax of the play as Todd apparently achieves revenge.
The falling point comes with realization that the mad woman whom Todd himself has killed is none other than his own true love and wife. In return for her betrayal of trust and lying to Todd about his wife’s death, Todd kills Mrs. Lovett.
The resolution of the play is that Tobias, who cares and had solemnly promised to take care of Mrs. Lovett, kills Todd and when Anthony and Johanna bring policemen with them, they find Tobias mincing Todd in a meat grinder.
The unique factor of the play is its dreadful and gruesome ending along with its description and dialogues. However it was the tragedy of killing his own wife for whose loss Todd had been taking revenge that touched hearts and made it special.
The aspect that didn’t work for me was the fact that Todd didn’t recognize his own wife when she had been right there all along. It’s a major flaw since Todd had been claiming true love and seeking revenge for her death.
Musical: Sweeney Todd. Song: The Ballad of Sweeney Todd (Prologue). Retrieved on June 28, 2007 from: http://www.allmusicals.com/lyrics/sweeneytodd/theballadofsweeneytoddprologue.htm