Cover of The Cocktail Party by T The cocktail party pdf Eliot. It focuses on a troubled married couple who, through the intervention of a mysterious stranger, settle their problems and move on with their lives. As it progresses, however, the work becomes a darker philosophical treatment of human relations. As in many of Eliot’s works, the play uses absurdist elements to expose the isolation of the human condition.
In another recurring theme of Eliot’s plays, the Christian martyrdom of the mistress character is seen as a sacrifice that permits the predominantly secular life of the community to continue. Edward and Lavinia Chamberlayne are separated after five years of marriage. She leaves Edward just as they are about to host a cocktail party at their London home, and he has to come up with an explanation for why Lavinia is not present, in order to keep up social appearances. Lavinia is brought back by a mysterious Unidentified Guest at the party, who turns out to be a psychologist whom Edward and Lavinia both consult.
They each learn that they have been deceiving themselves and must face life’s realities. They learn that their life together, though hollow and superficial, is preferable to life apart. This message is difficult for the play’s third main character, Edward’s mistress, to accept. She, with the psychiatrist’s urging, also moves on towards a life of greater honesty and salvation and becomes a Christian martyr in Africa. Two years later, Edward and Lavinia, now better adjusted, host another cocktail party.
Guinness as the mysterious stranger. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The Love Song of J. T S Eliot Simon Fieldhouse.