The Browning Version ppt.

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The Browning Version:

by Terence Rattigan The Browning Version c

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Introductoin … The Browning Version is the play that cemented Terence Rattigan’s reputation as a serious, mature playwright. It is viewed as one of his best works, and one of the best one-acts ever written. First performed at the Phoenix Theatre, London, England, on September 8, 1948, The Browning Version was coupled with another one-act by Rattigan entitled Harlequinade under the umbrella name, Playbill . This show ran for 245 performances, and Rattigan received the Ellen Terry Award for The Browning Version , his second.

Historical context...:

When World War II ended in 1945, Great Britain was in complete disarray. The country, as most of Europe, had suffered terribly during the war. Although Germany never invaded Great Britain, the country withstood severe bombings and economic turmoil, the latter of which lasted into the Postwar period. In that environment, the Labour Party was elected to power in 1945, and, for the first time, held control of Parliament. Clement R. Attlee served as Prime Minister . Historical context...

About Author…:

Sir Terence Mervyn Rattigan CBE (10 June 1911 – 30 November 1977) was one of England 's most popular 20th-century dramatists . His plays are generally set in an upper-middle-class background. [1] He is known for such works as The Winslow Boy (1946), The Browning Version (1948), The Deep Blue Sea (1952) and Separate Tables (1954), among many others. Rattigan was educated at Sandroyd School [4] from 1920 to 1925, at the time based in Cobham in Surrey (and now the home of Reed's School ), and Harrow School . Rattigan played cricket for the Harrow First XI and scored 29 in the Eton-Harrow match in 1929. [5] He was a member of the Officer Training Corps and organised a mutiny, informing the Daily Express . Even more annoying to his headmaster, Cyril Norwood , was the telegram from the Eton OTC, "offering to march to his assistance". [6] He then went to Trinity College, Oxford . About Author…

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Success as a playwright came early, with the comedy French Without Tears in 1936, set in a crammer . He had got inspiration from a 1933 visit to a village called Marxzell in the Black Forest , where young English gentlemen went to learn German, and where his time briefly overlapped with his Harrow classmate Jock Colville . [6] Rattigan's determination to write a more serious play produced After the Dance (1939), a satirical social drama about the " bright young things " and their failure to politically engage. The outbreak of the Second World War scuppered any chances of a long run. Shortly before the war, Rattigan had written (together with Anthony Maurice) a satire about Nazi Germany, Follow My Leader; the Lord Chamberlain refused to license it on grounds of offence to a foreign country, but it was performed from January 1940. [7] During the war, Rattigan served in the Royal Air Force as a tail gunner; his experiences helped inspire Flare Path and he was released from the service to help rewrite it as a film screenplay (which eventually appeared as The Way to the Stars in 1945). After the war, Rattigan alternated between comedies and dramas, establishing himself as a major playwright: the most famous of which were The Winslow Boy (1946), The Browning Version (1948), The Deep Blue Sea (1952), and Separate Tables (1954).

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John taplow Frank hunter Millie crocker -Harris Andrew crocker -Harris Dr. frobisher Peter gilbert Mrs. Gilbert C haracters …


The play is about the last few days in the career of Andrew Crocker-Harris, an aging classics teacher at a British public school . The man's academic life is fading away following illness and he feels that he has become obsolete. The headmaster informs him that the school will not give him his pension because of his early retirement, though he was depending on it, and wishes him to relinquish his place in the end-of-term speech-giving to a popular sports master. When Taplow , a pupil who needs Crocker-Harris to pass him so he can go up to the next year, comes to him for help with his Greek , Crocker-Harris begins to show his true feelings through his love for literature. Mr. Gilbert, Crocker-Harris's successor at his teaching post, arrives to view the Crocker- Harrises ' home. He seeks advice on the lower fifth, the year Crocker-Harris teaches, and how to control them. Crocker-Harris begins to relate to Gilbert his own sad experiences after Gilbert tells Crocker-Harris that the headmaster had referred to Crocker-Harris as the 'Himmler of the lower fifth'. Crocker-Harris, who did not realize he was feared by the boys, is very disturbed by this title. Plot…

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Crocker-Harris's wife, Millie, is being unfaithful to him with a younger master named Frank Hunter, something that Crocker-Harris has been aware of, but has been ignoring. After Taplow moves him by giving him an inscribed version of the Browning translation of Aeschylus ' Agamemnon , he breaks down crying. Millie, his wife, shows her callousness at Crocker-Harris's emotional state, and Hunter breaks off the affair with her, instead turning his sympathies to Crocker-Harris. Crocker-Harris informs him that he knew of Millie's affair with Hunter, as well as her previous ones, but despite this he does not wish to divorce her. As the play ends, Hunter makes plans with a reluctant Crocker-Harris to meet him at his new place of work, and an uplifted Crocker-Harris telephones the headmaster saying that he will make his speech after the sports master, as is his right. The "Browning Version" of the title is the reference within the story of Robert Browning 's translation of the Greek tragedy Agamemnon . In the tragedy, Agamemnon is murdered by his wife, aided by her lover. Although the name of the school is not given in the play, it is clearly Harrow School (which Terence Rattigan attended), something evident from the idiosyncrasies of the timetable that Crocker-Harris is in charge of writing


The Browning Version opens in the sitting room of the home of Andrew and Millie Crocker-Harris. A young student, John Taplow , knocks at the front door, then lets himself inside. He steals a chocolate from an open box, then uses his walking stick to practice his golf swing. Frank Hunter, a young schoolmaster, watches Taplow’s moves unseen. Finally, he interrupts and gives Taplow pointers on his swing. They converse for a few moments. Taplow has come for his tutoring session with Andrew, although it is the last day of school. The young man is worried, however, that Andrew will not give him his ‘‘remove.’’ He plans to study science, which is Hunter’s subject. Taplow does a wicked impersonation of Andrew, which he almost immediately regrets. However, Frank asks him to do it again, then suggests that since Crocker-Harris is rather late, Taplow should go play golf. Taplow is appalled at the suggestion. Despite his problems with Andrew, Taplow does like him and fears him enough to stay. Taplow relates an incident and again mimics Andrew for Frank’s benefit. This time, Millie Crocker- Harris appears at the door, and she listens for a moment before coming inside. Summary…

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Taplow is afraid that Millie has overheard his imitation. Millie informs Taplow that her husband will be tied up at the Bursar’s for a while and that he could go, but he decides to wait. Millie sends him on an errand. Once Taplow is gone, Millie and Frank have a more intimate discussion, and it becomes clear that they are lovers. They make plans for a rendezvous later in the summer. Millie tries to kiss him, but Frank fears they will be caught by her husband. Millie asks Frank if Taplow was imitating her husband when she walked in. When the answer is affirmative, Millie says that it seemed like a rather good one. Millie discusses her troubled relationship with her husband. She explains that he once aspired to be a headmaster and had more ambition than he has now. After another kiss, Millie tells Hunter about her day. She was saying good-bye to all the wives of the faculty. Andrew is leaving his teaching position, ostensibly due to a heart condition. Just as Millie and Frank are about to kiss again, Andrew finally arrives. He is somewhat peeved that Millie sent Taplow on an errand


Throughout The Browning Version, the ideas of success and failure are used to define characters. Andrew Crocker-Harris is considered a failure by everyone, including himself. Andrew’s intelligence as a classics scholar is never questioned. Yet because he is unpopular, and perceived as a strict schoolmaster and a bad jokester, he is regarded as a failure. Themes…

Prepared by…:

Prepared by… Rachna Bhalla XI - C

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