The Petrified Forest

Definition

Theater

  • A play by Robert Sherwood, first performed in 1935in New York. It starred Humphrey Bogart, who later appeared in thefilm version. The play, written two years after Hitler came to power,is a semiallegorical piece about the corrupting effects of fascism.Set in the Arizona desert, it shows how the gangster Duke Mantee andhis gang take over a café by terrorizing the family who ownit. The central character, a failed writer named Alan who has fallen for the café-owner's daughter, Gabby, begins to see some benefits in Mantee's power, calling him "the last great apostle of ruggedindividualism". He asks Mantee to kill him after making Gabbythe beneficiary of his life-insurance policy. After the gangster hascomplied, Alan is buried, as he had requested, in the famous Petrified Forest.
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