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date: 22 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

O pagador de promessas (Payment as Pledged, by the Brazilian playwright Alfredo Dias Gomes) involves classical elements of tragedy, in particular the collision of positive values exemplified in Sophocles’ Antigone and famously discussed by George Friedric Hegel, plus a solid grounding in Brazilian culture. Joe Burro, a cross-carrying pilgrim, espouses values of individual piety and inclusive charity (he desires a cure for his pet donkey). In refusing to allow Joe entrance to the chapel because of certain “heretical” particulars of his promise, Father Olavo demonstrates a commitment to institutional values, such as religious orthodoxy and obedience. The two characters thus constitute a clash of opposing systems of values, consistent with Antigone and other ancient tragedies. Following its own inclusive agenda, the play combines echoes of classical tragedy with much local color, playful satire, and protest against contemporary political realities.

Keywords: Tragedy, Antigone, Brazilian theater, Alfredo Dias Gomes, Hegel, folk Catholicism, Afro-Brazilian religion, religious syncretism, satire, social commitment

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