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Two Dogs – How To Read Satire

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Two Dogs is satire. I find it important to make this declaration because the satire is a very frequently misunderstood genre. Having earlier sent copies of the book to several people I am worried that some would probably have wondered, hey what the heck, I am old enough to know that dogs don't talk! Yes, that is right; Two Dogs is a play about talking dogs.

The play is about two dogs, a mongrel and a prize bulldog, who become neighbours. The pampered bulldog is not impressed by nor does it offer sympathy for the life of the mongrel who suffers constant mistreatment and starvation. As should be expected, the mongrel seeks the assistance of the neighbour for escape from its situation, but again the arrogant bulldog obsessed by its own feeling of superiority and intending to maintain that relative advantage, would have nothing to do with such a plan. A chance encounter with a wealthy man finds both dogs reduced to the same level in the eyes of a superior entity: they are merely two dogs - a suggestion which thoroughly irks the bulldog. By a cruel stroke of fate both of their masters die suddenly and the dogs now have to contend with a very bleak future ahead. Constant hardship had however prepared the mongrel for such a situation, while the other, shorn of its arrogance, now contemplates the future with much trepidation.

The satire is a risky thing to write for an unskilled writer. If well written it should succeed in artistically marrying the real with the ridiculous, but in an extreme and unrestrained form could very well degenerate into a ribald farce. Not that the farce is a bad thing either, especially when written by a skilled writer. Writing about talking animals is equally as difficult, unless you are writing for children. It is not an obtuse style nevertheless as George Orwell did quite a good job with this in Animal Farm. Just like Animal Farm, Two Dogs is satire. While Animal farm lampoons the political intrigues in human societies, Two Dogs dramatises the attitudinal foibles of its stratified social classes. In this play the whipped mongrel characterises the working class while the prize bulldog holding on tenaciously to a status, characterises the middle class .The pompous human visitor suitably represents the affluent class. The play outlines the natural propensities of each of these defined classes to alienate the interests of the others. Finally though, it shows that when stripped of their comfort zones, there is really very little difference. And as the mongrel declares at exeunt – we are all dogs.

The technique of the satire is that in which vices follies, abuses and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the objective of shaming individuals and society itself into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be funny, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism using wit as a weapon. Two Dogs paints a relevant social picture of our human social systems- the innate dislike, distrust and disrespect of the constituents of each stratified class for those of the other. The play does not however offer moral advice to, nor does it judge any of the class -related mindsets. In any case, how will it be possible for the different social classes to cooperate, without destroying their jealously erected boundaries, and subsequently resulting in a sinister agglomeration that would bring to recollection George Orwell's Animal Farm?
This is just a play about dogs. Enjoy it !

Two Dogs - (ebook)