J.B. vs the Book of Job: Comparing the play of J.B. by Archibald MacLeish to the Book of Job in the Bible

Essay by blkangel307High School, 12th gradeA+, November 2007

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All men are forced to endure the pain of life alone. The solitude of man's suffering is a important concept addressed in J.B. J.B. is a play written in verse by Archibald MacLeish which tells the same story of the Book of Job. However, J.B. is written in a more modern day version with some important changes made to the characters. MacLeish made significant changes to the characters of Bildad, Eliphaz, Zophar, from their roles in the Bible.

J.B. who represents Job, similarly loses everything; his wife, children, his bank, and ultimately his good health. He endures this suffering through a test of faith from God. During J.B's scenes of agony he is approached by three Comforters, Bildad, Eliphaz, and Zophar respectively. Unlike the Book of Job in the Bible, the comforters had individual occupations and different world point views. Bildad was a sociologist or Marxist and used history as his basis.

He conveyed the Marxist view that the underlying force throughout the world was economics. Eliphaz was a Freudian psychiatrist who believed that man is a victim of guilt from the subconscious mind. Last but not least is Zophar, a priest who saw all man as evil regardless of their actions because they all held the taint of the original sin.

J.B was deeply confused as to what were his sins that were responsible for his suffering. J.B's comforters tried to persuade him that he is not guilty, although his inner convictions were telling him otherwise. Bildad told J.B. that everything is determined in life in advance by economic necessity anyways. He explained that a small and simple change in one man in such a large and vast history is too insignificant to even matter. Eliphaz attempted to persuade J.B that he cannot be guilty due to...