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Plays About Destiny, Fate or Free Will

These plays deal with the role of destiny or fate in people’s lives. Some could address whether a character’s future path is inevitable or if they have free will.

The Man Who Had All the Luck: A Fable by Arthur Miller (3 Acts)

David is a mechanic working out of a barn. He’s planning on talking to Hester’s father, Andrew, even though he’s been putting it off for seven years. Andrew doesn’t like David and controls his daughter. David gets some advice about what to do. A rich farmer brings his tractor to David for a difficult repair. A successful fix would be a boon to his business. David is discouraged by the complexity of the job, and a confrontation with Andrew.

This play can be read in the preview of The Penguin Arthur Miller: Collected Plays. (10% in)

Oedipus Rex by Sophocles (5 Acts)

Thebes is rife with problems, so the people entreat King Oedipus for help. He says he has dispatched Creon to consult an oracle. Creon says the problems are due to the murder of the last king, and they won’t end until justice is done. A prophet also arrives with a startling revelation.

Antigone by Jean Anouilh (8 Parts)

Creon has become king of Thebes after Antigone’s brothers have killed each other. He ordered that one of them, Polynices, not be given a proper burial. Antigone sneaks back home at dawn. She’s confronted by the Nurse, who questions her. Later, Creon is given some unwelcome news.

Seven Against Thebes by Aeschylus

The ruler of Thebes, Eteocles, calls every able bodied male to prepare for battle. Seven forces are ready to attack the seven gates of Thebes. Eteocles learns that his own brother, Polyneices, will command the attack on the seventh gate. There’s much fear in the city.

The House of Bernarda Alba by Federico Garcia Lorca (3 Acts)

Bernarda Alba’s second husband has died. She imposes an eight year period of mourning on her five daughters. They’ll be cut off from the outside world, especially from men. The oldest daughter, Angustias, has some money inherited from her father, Bernarda’s first husband. She has a suitor, Pepe, although he’s only interested because of her money. Bernarda oppresses her household.

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