The Play “The History Boys” by Alan Bennet Essay

None of the plays written by Alan bonnet is as interesting as the play “The History Boys.” The play is entertaining, educating and is set in an English grammar school and the events in the play took place in the 1980s (as claimed by Bennet). The focus or the subjects in this play is a group of boys who were studying to qualify for admission in Cambridge and Oxford as history students.


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The writer of the book takes us through the lives of these boys during their stay at the grammar school that is full of comic. Alan Bennet achieves his objective of making the play one of the most interesting by introducing very interesting characters that form part of the school students and teachers.

The writer of the book achieves his objective using funny characters that form part of the students and teachers. The headmaster of the school is a very ambitious man who aims at sending some of the boys in his school to the most prestigious institution.

On the other hand, Mr. Hector is against the education as such, and in fact, he tells the students that the staffs that what they were learning was not meant for the exam but to make them better rounded as human beings (Bennet 38). What is more interesting in the whole play is the ability of Bennet to cover a very large territory and bring about the importance of education using a forty-year-old plot.

The way the play incorporates tragedy and the fulfillment of academic objective in England’s constantly changing face is not only amazing but also funny. The play “the history boys” is one that defies categorization and this is the main reason why it has become very experimental in London. Unlike its predecessors, the play is unique in the way it employs the use of comedy, drama, poetry and pop song.

The contrast of style is one significant aspect in the play the history boys and Hector are on one stage in the play, and Bennet has a way of bringing all these characters together. Bennet describes this as all about finding success in the exam. In the play, the boys are teenage boys, and for this reason, sex rules a good part of their emotions.

”And what happens after the exam? Life goes on” (Bennet 49), which is the philosophy of the grammar school. It is not possible to analyze the book without the mention of criticism. Throughout the play, Bennet can achieve his objective as a critique and the nature of British education is the main subject of criticism.


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From the book, Oxford and Cambridge education is an obsession to the British, and therefore Bennet uses this point to launch his criticism. Bennet uses the phrase “The Oxbridge education” to describe and show the level of obsession in Britain.

In addition to this the British political system, British philosophy, and mediocrity element come under criticism in the play. The play The History Boys is one of the most interesting plays of our times, written by Allan Bennet and it was set in a British grammar school in the 1980s.

Using funny and interesting characters, the writer of the play can achieve his or her objectives and pass his/her message. Funny characters and contradiction make it one of the interesting plays. It is broad and dynamic and therefore fails to fit in a specific category. It is also full of criticism, and this perhaps is what brings out all the fun in it.