In any well-made play, the pro…

10 October 2018

In any well-made play, the protagonist is the one character that gets the most attention and development compared to other characters. While in August Wilson’s play Fences all characters do have depth and develop as the story progresses, it is Troy, the protagonist, who displays the most dynamism and depth even until the end of the play. With that in mind, he makes the best possible choice among all characters from Fences for analysis.Troy, at the surface level, is a 53-year-old African-American man. He lives with his wife Rose, son Cory, and younger brother Gabriel; he has another son, Lyons, from a previous marriage. More than these surface characteristics, however, are Troy’s internal characteristics which further define him and his worldview.

His acute awareness of the realities of racism, his inner desire to break down the barriers resulting from racism, and his conservative nature (which basically leaves him stuck in the past) go a considerable way in defining not only the paradigm through which he views the world, but also how he deals with his life and the people in it in general.His one characteristic that had, arguably, the greatest impact in Fences and how its story went is his views on racism. On one level, he wishes for racism to end and relishes in any opportunity he has to be able to break down the barriers resulting from it; this is exemplified by how he successfully protests the limitation on black employees in his workplace (presumably city sanitation, as it deals with garbage collection), wherein they are allowed to be lifters behind the trucks but not to be drivers. He successfully managed to lobby to his boss and become a driver at work, which he views as breaking down the race barrier; he rides on the high of this “breaking down” and comes home celebrating it.At another level, however, he believes (rightfully so) that racism is rampant in American society, and the way he guides his children is demonstrative of this. On the part of Lyons, not only does he give his son a hard time, but Troy even berates and belittles him for pursuing his dreams instead of getting a “real job.” On the part of Cory, he voices his constant disapproval of the idea of him pursuing professional football, going as far as to tell Cory’s coach that he will no longer be playing football without consulting his son first.

In any well-made play, the pro… Essay Example

Both of these have led to differing levels of estrangement between Troy and his sons; for Lyons, it was their general lack of closeness, but for Cory it was the tense atmosphere (going as far as to blows) between the two of them which eventually led to Cory being kicked out of the house.Those two levels on his views on racism, in a way, demonstrate not just his views on race but also his conservative perspective as well as an underlying, and perhaps more important, nature: that of his hypocrisy. Rooted from the way he excelled as a Negro League Baseball player, but was unable to break into Major League Baseball, he views racism as a stumbling block to the African-American peoples’ dreams and aspirations in life. This is the rationale behind his general disapproval of Lyons’ music career, and the severe measures he took to stop Cory from pursuing professional football. In a way, this is revelatory of his conservatism and refusal to accept that society is changing, and the views on racism back during his youth are more than likely not the same as the time when his sons wanted to pursue their dreams. More importantly, this is revelatory of his inner hypocrisy: while he is allowed to rebel and fight for his dignity and opportunities despite being African-American, he does not allow his sons to do the same.This underlying hypocrisy and conservatism is by no means ill-willed.

What he desires is for family to survive, hence his emphasis on making his sons pursue more “practical” paths in life rather than their dreams. He wishes for them to be responsible, and to live good and upright lives. Unfortunately, these noble desires are marred by his own inability to fulfill the principles he is pushing upon his children; he affords himself the freedom to be irresponsible by engaging in an affair, and at the same time enjoys the freedom to rebel against racism and the barriers it imposes against him. In a way, it is him refusing to see the world as it is and to entertain the way others see it, but is adamant about living his life the way he wants to and even imposing his worldview on others.At the end, Troy represents a tragic “hero.” He starts out with this self-image that he presents to others, and while he is respected and admired for it, the hypocrisy behind it is revealed and it ultimately crumbles. But at the same time, Troy in no way is evil; if anything, his shortcomings and/or failings were a result of his own human weaknesses, combined with a noble desire to make sure his sons live good lives.

The only truly, unambiguously unforgivable aspect was his extramarital affair with Alberta, but then again this is tempered by the strong sense of responsibility he felt for the child he sired in that relationship. The play ends with Troy’s death and burial, and at the same time offerings of forgiveness from his family. And while it is debatable whether or not Troy should be forgiven, it is at the very least certain that he had good intentions for the people around him, misguided and fundamentally flawed as he was; that makes forgiveness, at the very least, a possibility for him.

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