playwright ‘Magical Realism’ theme analysis


Ever playwright always has a theme or specific message for the audience watching the play. Most playwrights employ different themes in their plays in order to be able to pass the message in the most appropriate way. Some plays can have emotional attachment with the audience such that their feelings may change according to the emotions in the play.

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In the play Marisol, which is one of José Rivera’s numerous plays, the author makes use of magic realism. This paper highlights some of the specific effects that the use of magic has on the audiences’ emotions (Faris 200). As the play begins, the audience is introduced to a young woman by the name of Marisol Perez. The 26-year-old woman is working as a copy editor for one of the local publishing houses. She continues to live in one of the most dangerous neighbourhoods in the Bronx, where she grew up, despite securing such a lucrative job. Just at the beginning of the play, Marisol is attacked viciously by a local Lunatic on her way home while travelling on a subway. Luckily, she survives this ordeal.

At this point, the author introduces magic for the first time in the play. This is applied in a way that is emotionally attaching to the audience (Faris 200). Most people believe in guardian angels, who are always there to protect them against harm. Marisol gets a visit from her guardian angel that unfortunately brings some bad news: the angel will not be able to protect Marisol any more as he is going to be busy helping in the fight against a senile god. The guardian angel further informs her that the god is dying of old age but she wants to die with everybody and everything (Sandin 180).

Theme of playwright

The theme that the playwright tries to pass to the audience by using magical realism is spiritual and ethical melancholy in cities. The war described in the play starts in heaven. It pits the angels against the god who intends to use all means to win; at this point, there is use of magic. Finally, the war is brought down to earth and the City of New York is engulfed in fire and smoke. Marisol has to work hard and overtime to stay alive, as she is now alone without the protection of her guardian angel. Marisol finds herself alone and prone to attack because some unusual happenings proceed around her: the moon has disappeared for months, and food has changed to salt. Homeless and hungry, Marisol has to face the challenges alone. In her quest to survive, she meets an armed woman who is raging mad for being tortured by the police because she had gone beyond her credit limit. She also meets a homeless man who is burned and on a wheel chair looking for his skin. With all this confusion, the angels and the displaced humans come together to fight in order to save the universe. At this point, the human beings and the angels, who now have guns, have to work together. The author shows how the angels use magic and guns in the fight. In addition, the play shows how people in the cities have to fight every single day, both spiritually and physically, to be able to survive in the cities (Sandin 180).

In the play, the author manages to use gloom, doom, and at times, magic to pass his main themes for the play. The themes highlighted in the play include ecological damage, spiritual, ethical melancholy in cities, as well as social injustices. The use of magical realism proves helpful in bringing out the themes as the audience is affected emotionally with these events.


A play is meant to pass a theme or message across to the audience. In an effort to achieve this goal the playwright uses the best technique to capture the attention of the audience. A play that has emotional attachment with the audience tends to pass the intended message much faster than a play that is not emotionally attaching. In Marisol, the writer has perfectly applies some aspect of magic in order to help drive the point home.


Works Cited

Faris, Wendy B. Ordinary enchantments magical realism and the remystification of narrative. New York: Vanderbilt University Press, 2004. Print.

Sandín, Lyn Di Iorio. Moments of magical realism in U.S. ethnic literatures. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Print.

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