Peter Montgomery wrote:
> Don't think he felt like killing a woman, but then Sweeney doesn't
> exactlly demo. that except in a playful way. He did happen to know
> someone like that, as I am sure, did Jesus.
I don't see Sweeney being playful describing the death but more matter
of fact. Still, there is a lighter tone throughout the play. There are
the names, repetition and rhythm leading to that.
However, that is what I'm getting from the words on a page. In a
performance there are so many things that lead to an impression: in
direction, lighting, stage design, customes, timing, and actor's
inflections, tone and mannerisms. Even program notes and audience
reaction (think of "The Producers".)
Lyndall Gordon sees horror in "Sweeney Agonistes" and she wrote that
Vivienne Eliot did also. On the other hand, one of the first
performances, if not the first, was by Vassar College, a women's