The Good Ship Hope
West African Coast, 1971
From the stage directions, at the beginning of the play, one can assume that The Good Ship Hope is based in Africa; preparing to start its first leg of the Triangular Trade. In the scene, the characters who are featured are the Boy and the Captain.
Why do you think the playwright did not assign a name to the characters, the “Boy” and the “Captain”? Explain
Is the name of the ship significant?
The scene takes place in the cabin of the ship. From the conversation between the Boy and the Captain, the audience becomes aware that the Captain is the Boy’s father. The boy questions his father about being required to stay in the cabin and study while ‘everyone else is on deck’. The father’s response to the Boy’s query can be described as being dismissive because he does not attempt to answer the question but instead requires the Boy’s silence and insists that he study his books.
Based on the interaction between the Boy and the father, how would you describe their relationship?
One can be theorized, that this is the Boy’s first voyage with his father, the Captain, through the middle passage, because the Boy questions the fact that it is people who are being loaded as cargo on the ship.
Do you think this has anything to do with why the Captain insists that the boy stay in the cabin while the ship is being loaded?
The audience is now left to assume that the Captain has taken the Boy along to learn the business of slavery.
What do the Boy’s questions near the end of the scene suggest about him?
- After reading this overview, identify the details that are left out.
- In your own words, summarize these details in a comment below.