The History Boys

1943 Words8 Pages
It has been said that the topic of paedophilia is far too disturbing to fit comfortably within a comic world, yet Hector engages in what can be perceived as paedophilic acts throughout the play. What is your view of the character and comic role of Hector in Alan Bennett’s ‘The History Boys’? “Paedophilia: Primary or exclusive sexual interest in prepubescent children.” 1 Paedophilia is a topic condemned by the wider population. Although, it is one that throughout recent years has proven to become increasing prominent within the public eye, exposing it as a major social issue within modern society. Whilst the topic is becoming more open, the ambiguity in how society perceives and understands the phenomenon still remains considerable. Alan Bennett takes the subject and adapts it to suit a modern day audience who seemingly take an interest in the sinister topic. Blurring the lines between drama and comedy, the two genres provide a captivating combination, subtly highlighting, in a way so refined and indirect, the social stigma attached to the subject. Although the nature of the play could be seen as somewhat disturbing, ‘The History Boys’2 does not fail to push the boundaries of this taboo subject. A subject that never fails to reach the nationals tabloids, evidenced by cases such as the 2012 Jimmy Saville sexual abuse scandal, whilst similarly finding its way into popular TV programmes such as ‘Family Guy’ and ‘The Inbetweeners’. Through scenes of dark humour and skilfully crafted characters, (in particular the lead role of Hector who is an eccentric ‘general studies’ teacher), the topics of paedophilia and homosexuality are able to be manipulated to his advantage. Topics which were of increasing revolution throughout the 80’s, the decade in which the play was set. The introductory scene of ‘The History Boys’, showcases the lead role of ‘Hector’2 as a flamboyant
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