I thought that the ending of The Beggar’s Opera was a satisfying and fitting end to the play, despite it being very similar o the ending of Moll Flanders. The ending is very satisfying because while it was very anticlimactic, it fits the form of the work perfectly. While it makes perfect sense to have Macheath hanged, and in fact he should be hanged, it is a far more potent jab at the operas of the time to grant him a reprieve on the basis that an opera must end happily.
Archive for November, 2014
I think the ending to The Beggar’s Opera fits the overall work perfectly. One of the primary goals of the play is to expose and satirize the flaws of the typical Italian Operas of the time and this particular ending does so perfectly. That Macheath would be hung makes perfect sense. Even though he was framed, both the Lockit and Peachum are powerful enough and in a position to see him hung no matter what he tries to do. Yet, as the Player reminds us, “an Opera must end happily” , and thus the Beggar quickly rearranges the ending to save Macheath (III.xiv). That the play closes with Macheath choosing Polly to be with for life adds some happiness to the chaotic play, but again just creates more problems for the characters after the play. Macheath’s release and the ending as a whole do not solve any of the play’s conflict whatsoever and leave many aspects of the play wide open after the curtain falls, but this however, I believe, is the whole point of The Beggar’s Opera.
The Beggar’s Opera surprisingly finishes with a happy ending. The scenes leading up to the end consist of Macheath being lead to his hanging and many women claiming to be his wife, such as Polly and Lucy. The women are filled with despair wishing to be hanged rather than see him hanged. Later on the Player and Beggar both appear to discuss a fit ending to the Beggar’s Opera. The Beggar wants Macheath to be hanged stating it would be just, however, the Player wants Macheath to live and for there to be a happy ending. Overall I disliked the ending of the Beggar’s Opera. I believe that Macheath and other criminals deserve to have some type of punishment. I believe there needs to some form of justice for those who do wrong. In the end Macheath chooses Polly to be his wife, this being somewhat ironic since they are already married. Beggar’s Opera essentially ends with the classic ending of “they all live happily ever after,” it ends with them dancing and singing. Macheath and many others manage to live another day.
The ending of the Beggar’s Opera is comical, as it is supposed to be. In the end Macheath is given a pardon, because it would be to tragic if he would to die, and Operas need to have happy endings. The conversation between the player and the beggar was a form of comical relief, as well as an explanation to why Macheath wasn’t hung. In the end the play seems to turn out well for everyone, Polly marries Macheath, and Macheath promises to find his other wives new husbands. Though the ending is weird, it matches the plays form of satire through the mixture of comedy and tragedy in mockery of the current times.
Macheath probably wold have died in almost every other play from the 1720’s, as people did not want to encourage criminal activity. Instead, John Gay sends out the beggar to save Macheath’s life while he is on the way to the gallows. This is a fitting ending given the satirical context of the play. Gay was trying to parody the criminal biographies and italian operas of the day, which all would have had some sort of dramatic and or tragic ending. Gay thought that Italian operas had an unnecessary amount of drama, so he instead gives the audience a happy ending. I believe many people take this ending too seriously. The play was meant to be a parody, not some dramatic masterpiece.
I am a big fan of the ending to the Beggar’s opera as it humorously turns what should be a tragic ending into one that is actually rather happy. The idea that the Player and the Beggar are on stage debating how to end the Opera I’m am sure was something that hadn’t been done at that time. It’s funny how the Player is able to convince the Beggar that hanging Macheath would surely hurt the overall view of the play to the audience and by not doing so the opera would have happier, more appealing ending. On another note I think it’s great how Macheath chooses Polly to be his wife for life. Whether or not he may not have truly wanted this earlier in the play I feel he has really found that he truly loves this woman!
I think that many people have differing views on the ending of the play due to the question left to the audience after the play is over. Should Macheath have been hanged or not? I believe that Gay was trying to challenge the audience by making them consider what it would have been like if Macheath was hanged. Personally, I did not particularly like the ending because it seemed that Gay was just trying to make the audience happy and keep the public’s respect for him. However, by doing that, it seems that maybe he wanted Macheath to be hanged, but he veered away from that in order to retain the public’s perspective of him. The only reason that my opinion might have been changed on the ending is that I like how even though he only pursued the happy ending, he still mentioned the depressing ending of hanging Macheath through the conversation between the Beggar and the Player. I think that after all this build up of Macheath’s murder, due to his mysterious schemes and childish behavior towards women, that people might have been mad he was not killed because the play made him seem like the antagonist. Therefore, people might have been more satisfied with hanging Macheath, since the play pointed out his wrongdoings regarding crime, money, and women. So, I think Gay’s decision not to hang Macheath was not the best because by doing this, it seems that he was just trying to get the public to have a lot of respect and courtesy for him.
The ending of The Beggar’s Opera was very interesting and creative in my opinion. I thought it was funny how things turned out for Macheath. Macheath originally wanted to be hanged because he didn’t want to deal with all of the women claiming to be his wife. I thought it was funny that he wanted to be put to death instead of choose his one true lover. Then the player says that Macheath shouldn’t be executed because he thinks that the opera should end happily. I think that it is very creative that somebody within the opera thinks that the opera should end differently, and therefor changing the outcome of the opera. Finally after all of this is settled and Macheath is pardoned from his hanging, he chooses Polly as his one wife and everybody cheerily ends in a happy song and dance. I think that Gay did a very good job with the ending of this opera, it was funny and creative how Gay was able to turn what was turning out to be a tragedy into a happy ending finishing with a cheerful song and dance.
I felt like the ending to The Beggars Opera was a very fitting one. Had Macheath simply been taken away and hanged, I would have felt disappointed about the predictability to the ending. It was also satisfying to me that Macheath was allowed to live in the end and find a single wife to live with, for, despite his obvious flaws, I thought Macheath to be a lot more likable than Peachum and Lockit, and I would not have liked seeing him be hanged at the benefit of those two. I also found it refreshing to see the beggar and the player discuss the ending of the play before it actually happened, so that I could be reminded that all I was reading was a fictional opera, and not a true story. In short, I was happy to read that the play ended happily for Macheath and Polly.
The ending of the play seems to act like a huge surprise to the audience, but I was expecting it the whole time. The way that the entire story had been set up made the ending very predictable. Because of all the controversy between the women throughout Act 3, I could tell that Macheath was ultimately going to stay with his wife whom he truly loved. Lucy was nothing but a past lover of Macheath’s. She toyed with his mind by coming into this story and trying to win him back. However, it made sense for her to come amongst the problems between the Peachum’s and Macheath. It is interesting how the Beggar says the intention of executing Macheath was for poetic justice. Although, It is humorous how the Player convinces the Beggar to end the play on a happier note where Macheath is not executed and remains with his wife Polly. Because the play was satirical, I never expected Macheath to die in the end.