The History Boys

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To what extent is there an inherent threat to the dramatic comedy of The History Boys by the more serious elements in the play? The History Boys by Alan Bennett is categorized as a comedy, but there is an inherent threat to the dramatic comedy by the more serious elements in the play; such as Hector’s death, Irwin being in a wheelchair and when Posner recites the poem ‘Drummer Hodge’. At the end of The History Boys, Hector dies in a tragic motorcycle accident. Hector’s death is significant, because Hector’s name has a symbolic meaning, as Hector was a Trojan Prince and the greatest fighter for Troy in the Trojan War. In the Trojan war Hector was killed by Achilles outside the walls of Troy and Achilles dragged his dead body behind his chariot around the walls of Troy. When Hector had his motorcycle accident, Irwin was his passenger; this links back to Hector of Troy, because he was killed and dragged around behind a chariot, and Hector was killed on his ‘chariot’. Irwin metaphorically killed Hector, like Achilles killed Hector of Troy. This link between Troy and The History Boys shapes deeper meanings of how the characters connect and the reasons behind their actions. However in the final scene of the play Scripps says “So I think that, since Irwin had never been on the back of a bike before, going round the corner he leaned out instead of in and so unbalanced Hector.” It can also be suggested that Irwin wanted Hector dead because he wanted the high position that the Headmaster offered him. Although Irwin wouldn’t have risked his own life to heighten his teaching position as this would have been a pure loss of talent. Irwin’s teaching method is incredibly different to both that of Hector and Ms Lintott. Irwin teaches the boys how to pass an exam, whereas both Hector and Ms Lintott teach the boys far more valuable things which will help them throughout their

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