Flashcards in The Beggar's Opera Deck (13):
What genre does it invent?
The ballad opera
(not Gay's own term, retroactively applied to his work and the 100+ imitators in the next 20 years)
What were Gay's financial circumstances?
Super well-patronized, (Unlike Poor Pope)
which gives him guilt. to be a courtier and mock the court. "The double-tounged utterance"
Who is the Beggar?
The Author. It's a joke on how playwrights have to beg
How does the play end?
McCheath is ready to die (having been confronted by 4 more wives), but the Player interrupts and demands a happy ending from the Beggar, so M escapes for the third time.
Who is Peachum (in real life?)
A recognizable Jonathan Wild, the self-appointed Thief Taker General of Great Britain, but every once in awhile, Sir Robert Walpole, PM
Why doesn't Walpole like the play?
Because allusions to Walpole abound--not tied to any single character. the idea that ministers and politicians are in general less reputable than thieves is a common one.
Describe the two dominant satrical strategies Gay employs
1) equivalency between apparent opposites
2) inversion of expected value (thief is more honorable than the courtier)
How is Macheath a deflation of the romantic highwayman?
He's all talk, he hides behind women, he doesn't go out with the gang, he drinks himself into oblivion to face death
Talk about the choice of Greensleeves for the end
the re-writing argues that if rich people were hanged too, population would drop. This sentiment is echoed by the Beggar: "the lower sort of people have their vices as well as the rich"
Who is the most opera-like character?
Who does Macheath choose?