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We begin by asking ourselves, are the best things in life really free? As a modern society we taught to automatically surmise that there is no such thing as a free lunch. However, would it be possible to find true happiness in a world that is enslaved by the love of money and power? Are we truly free to live our lives as we choose? The answers may become clearer as we explore a prime example of how happiness is manifested in the drama You Can't Take It With You.
In this first look, we find that drama has given us the priceless joy of laughter. This gift has lifted the spirits of countless people who have watched a troop of comical characters interact on stage. When the audience admires how truly unique these characters are it is natural to appreciate the talent of the actors as well as the play writers like Kaufman and Hart. The actors bring life to the characters including the eccentric traits and sly witticisms. This type of acting provides the audience with a pleasant escape from the concerns and worries of life by becoming absorbed in the whimsical antics of the characters.
Next, regardless of the time that has passed the dramatic work You Can't Take It With You remains a enduring classic thanks to the endeavors of Kaufman and Hart in creating satirical work that includes a timeless message. "Pollack never questions the classification of the majority of Kaufman's plays as satires, concluding that it is the overall satiric tone of his texts that give them much of their distinction and uniqueness (Wilmeth 566)." Their style of invigorating and energized comedy makes a large positive impact on the viewer. In fact, the play You Can't Take It With You is more than deserving of recognition and could easily receive accolades among the best theatrical creations of its time.
Furthermore, the dramatic work You Can't Take It With You hints at an underlying theme that is personified within the leading role of Grandpa Martin Vanderhof. This man embodies the philosophy that no one can take their money with them once they are dead. Mr. Vanderhof has simply discovered his own unique way of life and is responsible for inspiring others to understand this ideal. He also encourages them to freely live in any manner they choose.
Overall, this tale is about freedom or free will and the understanding that everyone has the right to make their own story by choosing their path. One example of this would be a person who enjoys life to the rather than merely drift through. While on the other hand an individual could choose to labor continuously and does not need any opportunity to socialize. Grandpa Martin plays the leading role who chooses a happy, carefree lifestyle and lives a life full of joy without regrets. He eventually chose to settle down and stopped following the work routine 35 years ago. This newfound liberation allowed him to take each day as it comes doing anything he fancied. Grandpa usually enjoyed working on his hobbies such as adding to his stamp book, visiting college initiations and collecting snakes.
Additionally, the dramatic work contains roughly eighteen roles and as the play progresses the audience finds that each one them concur to the main character's free living philosophy. Even near the conclusion of the performance the snobby Mr. Kirby is fascinated by the joy he encounters in this new theology. Grandpa's large family of free thinkers is a hodgepodge group since each individual possesses standalone character traits, so that everyone acts in a different and odd manner when compared to normal families. These characters allow the audience to form a bond with them depending on what free spirited lifestyle draws them in. This dramatic work acts as the catalyst that flares up the yearning for a life that allows for more freedom.
Consequently, the creed that Grandpa abides by is "live and let live." Throughout his life he never tried to hinder anyone from doing anything they wanted. He has a daughter named Penelope who began typing scripts for her plays when a typewriter was mistakenly dropped off at their home. She is married to Paul Sycamore who spends his life making fireworks in his basement. Grandpa is also proud to have a determined granddaughter named Essie who demonstrates his own free lifestyle by never giving up on ballet despite her numerous unsuccessful attempts at learning. Everyone in the family enjoys being with others who share the same free spirited attitude towards life. The other people who dwell within this carefree home are a few African American servants and a tenant called Mr. De Pinna.
Unfortunately, there is a conflict that starts between the free spirited household and the Kirby family since they never see eye-to-eye when their way of life is concerned. The Kirbys are all wealthy and enjoy a life of leisure at the expense of others. The Kirby household has a son named Tony who is engaged to Alice the oldest daughter of the Sycamores. Since she is the only member of the family that does not follow the ideals of her grandfather she is ashamed of them once they meet the Kirbys. Once Grandpa is first introduced to the Kirby family he feels that they are a family that is not even living at all, but rendered prisoners to their own shallow focus. The belief that Grandpa holds towards those sort of people is that they only care about their job and holding onto the worries of life like a talisman to the point where they have lost the ability to live. All that he wants is to show them how to truly live and appreciate all of life's blessings. Grandpa already found his own way out of the mundane life and now he is able to have time for anything and everything he feels is what life is all about.
At first, the young man Tony feels anxiety over this family that cannot abide by a contemporary lifestyle. Although he eventually figures out how he had given up his own vision of reality once he had been forced to join the Kirby's business and he understands why most are fearful to follow their dreams. Finally, the Kirbys are resigned to recognize the full picture that life is given to them and they should live it to the utmost. Mr. Kirby soon returns to visit the freestyle family even after the previous episode of pandemonium during the initial meeting. He confesses that their viewpoint of reality and life itself was correct all along.
Conclusively, the timeless drama You Can't Take It With You carries a unique understanding of what life has to offer. In the end, success, riches, money and all other worldly possessions will all pass away just as our mortal bodies shall return to dust. The play does a wonderful job of explaining how anyone can enjoy life instead of worshiping the almighty dollar. The only thing we can do is make the most of the time that is given to us. In Marvell's "To His Coy Mistress" there is a prime example of living life to the fullest. "And tear our pleasures with rough strife Thorough the iron gates of life. Thus, though we cannot make our sun Stand still, yet we will make him run (lines 43-46)." Those who have an unflinching belief in something and march to the beat of their own drum will find out life is abundant with opportunity and freedom to truly live it to fullest.