Q: Write a note on the opening scene of the Sea!
The Sea is set in a seaside village in East Anglia in 1907. It begins like Shakespeare’s The Tempest with an enormous storm. Unlike Shakespeare’s play where no one is hurt during the storm, Bond’s tempest claims the life of a young man, Colin, who was engaged to marry Rose, the niece of Mrs. Rafi the queen bee of village society. Colin’s best friend Willy, who was sailing with Colin, survives the wreck, but no one from the volunteer coast guard helps him. Only Evens, the village recluse, labeled as the town drunk, provides Willy with any assistance. We discover later that the draper Hatch, the head of the coast guard, believes that the storm was manufactured by aliens to disguise a landing and that Willy is one of those aliens.
Willy baffled at the very outset of the play
When the play opens, we find a man at war with nature. This man is Willy Carson calling for his friend, Collin’s name. Collin has been engulfed by the powerful tempestuous waves of the stormed sea. He is drowned and Willy is crying for help. Willy cries at the top of his voice but the sea roars more loudly than him. His cry for help is overwhelmed by the sea.
Willy: Help. Aaahhh……….. (His cry is drowned by the sound of the water.) Help. Colin. Shout. Oh, God, make him shout. (The sound of the tempest grows louder.) Help. (His cry is again drowned by the sound of water.)
Willy and Evens/ Willy’s Helplessness
Next to Willy Evens is the second character who appears in the scene. He is a drunkard. Willy asks Evens for help but he cannot understand him. Here we feel that Willy is totally helpless before nature and Evens babbling.
Willy: Help. Help.
Willy: Here. In the water. A man’s in the water. (Thunder)
Evens: ‘Ss too late f’ss thass. ‘Ss sea ‘sl finish all ‘ss thass.
Willy: Help me our boat turned over. I can’t find him.
Here the tempestuous effect of the setting increases. With this increase in the storm, we are introduced to a major and important character of the play. The character is Hatch and Bond’s description of this particular event show as if Hatch is coming out of the sea amidst the storm.
“The sound of the storm grows worse. Thunder. The wind Screams. Hatch, a middle-aged man, comes on with the torch.”
Hatch’s Skeptical Nature
Hatch’s suspicious nature is shown in the very first sentence he utters. “What are you up to?” He is suspicious of Willy. He thinks him an alien a notion of his that he will nourish till the very end of the play.
Hatch: I know what’s going on here.
Willy: Help. Help.
Hatch: I know who you are. You thought you wouldn’t be seen out here.
Three Important Characters introduced
Three important characters are introduced in the opening scene of the play. They are Willy, Evens, and Hatch. These characters go a long way to help us understand the philosophy of the author. Evens who, in the opening scene, comes before us as a drunkard establishes himself as a sane and mature person in the final scene of the play. Hatch is introduced to us as a suspicious and cunning personality but he turns almost totally mad when we see him in the second last scene of the play.