Repetition and Menace in Hal Porter’s ‘The Tower’
Hal Porter's sophisticated melodrama 'The Tower' is a play that is in a category of its own, in spite of obvious affinities with familiar dramatic modes. Although the play is set in the past and reflects the social structure and conditions, the attitudes and judgments, the very turns of phrase, of this past, it is in no way an 'historical play'. The personal relationships and the power struggle, not the time and setting, are its centre and these are timeless. Equally timeless are some of the technical devices through which Porter expresses his themes. In particular, his use of repetition of various kinds —and especially the ironic repetition of key words in the dialogue —relates 'The Tower' to Shakespearian and Jacobean tragedy, to much nineteenth-century melodrama, and to some extent to recent expressionist and absurdist drama.
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