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Bunker-Hill


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AT: The Death of General Warren A: John Daly Burk Pf: 1797, Boston Pb: 1797 G: Trag. in 5 acts; blank verse S: Boston and Bunker Hill, 1775 C: 8m, 2f, extrasThe English are suffering heavy losses at the hands of the American rebels. Abercrombie, an English officer, has fallen in love with Elvira, the daughter of an American patriot. The American General Warren, elated at the rebels’ victories, is invited to take command of the attack on Boston. He plans to seize Bunker Hill, which overlooks the city. Abercrombie's sense of duty forces him to fight against the rebels. He painfully renounces Elvira, swearing that he will never love another woman. She makes the same promise to him. A British officer offers Warren an amnesty if he will desert the rebel cause. Warren insists he must fight for freedom and defiantly refuses. The Battle of Bunker Hill takes place. At first the rebels are victorious, but finally Warren is shot, and the English gain the Hill but have endured crippling casualties. Elvira comes, driven insane by news of Abercrombie's death. Warren is carried on dying and proclaims the Republic of free men, as American soldiers carry standards: ‘The Rights of Man’, ‘Liberty and Equality’, etc.

AT: The Death of General Warren A: John Daly Burk Pf: 1797, Boston Pb: 1797 G: Trag. in 5 acts; blank verse S: Boston and Bunker Hill, 1775 C: 8m, 2f, extras

Bunker-Hill is one of the most blatantly patriotic plays of the early American theatre. There is no depth of characterization, Warren's death has no sense of inevitability, and the only internal conflict between Abercrombie's love for Elvira and his duty as an officer is presented without subtlety. However, this once very popular piece offers opportunities for spectacular staging: more a pageant than a tragedy.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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