Hairy Ape Character Analysis

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 12th grade February 2008

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Style "The Hairy Ape" was done in the expressionist style of theater. Expressionism is the theatrical technique which will use the staging and setting to show the characters inner emotion or the keep the theme constantly within the audience's sight. In Expressionism, characters do not act or talk the way they really would, everything is extreme to prove a point. In Expressionism plausibility is deliberately altered by the author to make the theme clear.

Characters Yank Yank represents the lower class. He depicts the manner in which it is the force at the bottom of society that allows society to run. Yank also represents how people can be trained and persuaded to be comfortable in a situation that may not be best for their personal development and become unable to fit in elsewhere. Yank is depicted in the play as "Neanderthal" and "ape-like", not only in his speech, but also in his physical description.

Yank and his shipmates are initially described as "?hairy-chested, with long arms of tremendous power, and low, receding brows?" The ship's crew is kept in constant hunched over position due to his quarters on the ship Yank, at the outset of the play is even proud of his position. Yank is so comfortable in his position that he lives in false security that he controls his surroundings. He feels that it is he who is better. He repeatedly states how it is he who makes the ship run. Not even realizing that he has mentally dehumanized himself; he states that he is the ship.

Yank seemingly has no issue with his position, has never given it any thought and criticizes other shipmates who do, until he is observed by Mildred Douglas, who proclaims upon seeing him "Oh, the filthy beast". It is at...