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Dragon


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A: Evgeny Shvarts Pf: 1943, Leningrad Pb: 1960 Tr: 1963 G: Satirical fairy tale in 3 acts; Russian prose S: A mythical city, indeterminate period C: 19m, 6f, extrasFor 400 years a Dragon who can assume different human shapes has ruled over the city. Everyone has adjusted to the Dragon's rule and even his victims accept the need for him to devour a virgin annually. The smooth running of the city is upset by the arrival of the brave knight Lancelot, who regularly campaigns for people's rights and moreover falls in love with Elsa, this year's virgin sacrifice. Despite efforts by the local populace to prevent him, Lancelot, aided by a Cat who provides him with weapons and a helmet of invisibility, prepares to do battle with the Dragon. Elsa falls in love with Lancelot and refuses the Dragon's order to murder the knight. After a sky battle during which the townspeople are given misleading reports, the Dragon is defeated. However, Lancelot is badly wounded and disappears. A year later, the Burgomaster, who takes credit for defeating the Dragon, now rules the city as tyrannically as the Dragon had done. Just as the Burgomaster is about to force Elsa into an unwanted marriage, Lancelot returns and throws the Burgomaster and his son Henry into prison, releasing those that had been incarcerated, demanding: ‘Why did you submit and go to prison? There are so many of you!’ Lancelot, taking Elsa's hand, now realizes that he must stay in order to continue killing dragons.

A: Evgeny Shvarts Pf: 1943, Leningrad Pb: 1960 Tr: 1963 G: Satirical fairy tale in 3 acts; Russian prose S: A mythical city, indeterminate period C: 19m, 6f, extras

The Dragon ran for only three or four nights before being banned by the authorities in 1943. Its reference to the replacement of the tyrannical Tsar by the even more tyrannical Stalin was all too obvious, although Shvarts insisted that he was not anti-Communist but opposed to any political system that threatened personal liberty. When his plays were published in 1960, two years after his death, they soon became internationally famous.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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