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Broken Glass

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How is Gellburg presented in Scene one?

In the opening of scene one Gellburg is presented as the root of all problems through his entrance into the play, ‘alone on stage Phillip Gellburg.’ Throughout the play the audience will be introduced to the main situation of the story and by placing Gellburg alone at the beginning of the play, the audience will recognise him as the root of Sylvia’s paralysis. This is a common technique used by storytellers and play writers alike. Supporting this negative presentation of Gellburg is the fact he is dressed in dull and serious colours. ‘ He is in a black suit, black tie and shoes.’ By placing Gellburg in dark and serious clothes the reader sees this as a villainous appearance. This is another technique used by play writers but most famously used by the author Anton Chekhov. We see in scene one that Gellburg is insecure about his identity as a man. We see this when he compares himself to a sex symbol, ‘ I’m no Rudolph Valentino.’ He is cautious about how people perceive him and shows signs that he struggles with how he sees himself. We see this struggle when he engages in conversation with Hyman. In these lines we notice Gellburg trying to escape the Jewish stereotype, ‘it’s Gellburg, not Goldberg.’ Further on he is even judgmental towards other Jewish people, ‘German Jews can be pretty… you know…(pushes up his nose)’ Here we have evidence of Gellburg being both ashamed and critical of his own religion. Although further on he shows signs of him being proud of his religion. We see this in the lines, ‘the only Jew ever set foot on that deck.’ The reader can see from this that Gellburg struggles to grasp his identity and how he wants to present himself to people. Also from this we can see that Gellburg has become a victim of the anti-Semitism going on in America at that time. In scene one the reader gets the sense that…...

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