The Nether, a play by Jennifer Haley is a powerfully written piece which explores the aesthetics of both language and the theatre in a magnanimous manner. Interwoven into the play is an equally astounding message that not only mortifies one but also sends a warning into what could or could not be as the play is timeless. Right from the beginning, one is cast into an on-going interrogation of a suspect Sims (pg. 3). Sims also popularly referred to as Papa is quite the sensation with the kind of revelation one gets when they are done with scene one and the subsequent scenes thereafter. In a nutshell, this essay will take a look at the plot and a thematic aspect as far as the play is concerned. Jennifer Haley, an award winner with this play has managed to explore the aforementioned in a meticulous way.
As stated above the first scene in itself captures a reader's attention as Sims a self-proclaimed child molester is under investigation. This exposes the plot of the play as one is able to get a glimpse of what is going on right from the start. The conversation between Sims and detective Morris provides hints into the kind of man Sims is as detective Morris seems to indicate that he (Sims) is leading a double life (pg.3). This is evidenced by the detective's string of questioning about Sims home and family especially when Sims requests to go back home to his family to which the detective retorts "which home and which family?" (pg.3).
The plot further thickens as the detective threatens to shut down Sims terminal which in this case would be access to the Nether to which Sims responds to engaging his lawyers to fight it out as his entire business and livelihood was the Nether (pg.4). This then begs the question as to what was he referring to as the Nether? The answer is found on page 27 where we learn the Nether was called the Internet at a past time. It is this case therefore that the entire plot comes into play and one cannot help but decipher that Jennifer in a brilliant yet quaint fashion has managed to paint into a reader's mind what the future may hold or was capable of achieving.
Jennifer, in other words, is talking of a time in the near future where technology is going to be so infused together with the human species until in a technical kind of way, mankind is going to be able to access the Internet in a physical manner and even manage to exist within the virtual space. Such is the reality the world is facing today. What with the fast-moving technological advancements and breakthroughs science is making! Existing full bodily and or having one's sensory immersion into the Internet may soon be possible. This ideology is also feasible as already mankind has managed over the years to turn the Internet into a workplace, entertainment hub and the biggest of all is having emotionally driven relationships where people meet and even fall in love. This then begs the question as to whether Jennifer's play is relevant or not.
The author has also managed to use thematic concerns in advancing the plot of the play. As one gets deeper into the story, issues of pedophiles and pedophilic behaviors come to the surface. Detective Morris is seen to be investigating a rather delicate matter whereby Sims through the virtual reality has managed to create "The Hideaway" which was a realm of the Nether where child molesters could access it and carry out their hideous fantasies (pgs 8-11). These fantasies were inclusive of having sex with the children and thereafter depending on the person's interest, kill or dismember the same children between the ages of nine and twelve (pg 15). This is quite a disturbing picture yet Jennifer has managed to incorporate it into the play. Interestingly enough, Sims is seen to be professing to pedophilic acts and tendencies as part of his urges which he does not seem to be in control of (pg 11).
Therefore thematic concerns addressed here include child molestation and the use of technology in advancing scientifically driven projects. The Nether, the realm, and the Hideaway are all technical terms for the Internet and the Website respectively (pg. 27). It is imperative for a reader to understand these terminologies as Jennifer has generously used them in her play to elaborate more on virtual reality. Pedophilia as a theme is a recurrent subject in our society today and though a sensitive topic, Haley has managed to address it in her play.
In conclusion, therefore, the above mentioned pedophilic behaviors are both repulsive and sickening and in my viewpoint, such behaviors should be eliminated from the society. It takes courage and gallantry for one to approach and address such a sensitive topic in the way that Haley has and according to me she is a dauntless hero. Not only has she brought to our attention some of the realities of the monstrosities that the Internet harbors and can bring but she has also painted a vivid scenario of what the future could be for the human race.
In my view, therefore, Haley is issuing a caution of some sorts and in so doing, making us question our moral obligations as far as the Internet and technological advancements are concerned. Yes, we love technology and the benefits it brings but are we ready for the ramifications it may bring with it? And secondly, what takes place online and the reality on the ground are they one and the same? Can they be merged into one single entity?
These are some views I suppose the author is evoking and The Nether is the perfect play offering some sensible answers. Could it be that one day the human race would deem itself superior as to have wild fantasies being carried out online and in the physical? According to Haley, the answer is yes. And how should we handle such atrocities? Haley yet again provides the answer through detective Morris, by going to the root of the problem and plucking it out.
In so doing, we would be able to protect our children and their innocence while taking in stride the vast, fast paced-technological advancements. Our societal values would it be corrupted and sanity would reign supreme once again.
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