"Choice"- Shephered on the Rocks - Critical Analysis of Scene 14

In scene fourteen of the play ‘Shepherd on the Rocks’, the composer (Patrick White) provides his audience with a confronting outlook on spirituality. The extract is a monologue delivered by the ‘Danny’ character, and uses spirituality as an example when exploring the concept of choice. White uses the actor/audience relationship to manipulate his audience: he first forces his audience to identify their own spiritual beliefs by asking the rhetorical question ‘Are you for magic? ’. Danny then says ‘I am’ allowing the audience to be completely honest with them selves because they see that they wont be judged by the 'Danny' character.   It also conveys an underlying need to make a decision, ie. needing to choose a belief to avoid feeling vulnerable.

White first outlines the nature of choice. He presents us with the example of spirituality: 'We are taught to believe either science or nothing. Nothing is better. science may explode in our faces'. He explains, using this device, that people make decisions to avoid putting themselves in a state of vulnerability; we make decisions so that things wont 'explode in our faces'.

He then undermines spiritual beliefs by suggesting that spirituality is a 'dream… a   pervasive dream which becomes more real than reality if we have faith in it.’ This confronting line suggests that anything that   'scientists, academics and a variety of   non-human beings try to persuade... us' become irrelevant once we have chosen to believe something. If we consider the action of making a decision as an action to avoid vulnerability (as stated before), then going back on a decision is to put yourself into a vulnerable state once again.   It is for this reason that our beliefs become 'more real than reality' once we have faith in it.

White also explains what influences our decisions. He shows how some people ‘refuse to believe what certain scientists, academics and non-human being try to persuade…us.’ Again he uses the actor/audience relationship...