Seeking the Truth
Sweeney Todd, a four act dramatic performance adapted from The String of Pearls written by Frederick Hazleton, premiered for the first time in 1962, and has experienced a number of re-runs and reversions dating all the way to 2005. Sweeny Todd is clearly a successful musical performance and if you’ve experienced being a part of the audience of the show, you will know why. The unique musical takes on the dark themes of revenge. But what more importantly does the show state about revenge? Through the many characters that deal with revenge in Sweeny Todd, it can be concluded overall, that revenge is not the answer, for it does not solve the issue at hand. The stories of not only Sweeny Todd himself, but other roles such as Ms. Lovett-all have a story relating back to this point: that maybe revenge is not the best answer because it will only take over your life negatively.
At the start of the story, Sweeny Todd is accused of a crime he did not commit and the corrupt Judge Turpin, sentences Sweeney Todd to a life in prison. Sweeney manages to escape after 15 years. However, the life he comes back to is no desirable life at all. He becomes obsessed with killing the judge to have his revenge, that he actually loses his entire life. He had the probable chance of marrying and having kids and a nice family, but ends up being so blinded with vengeance. Sweeney Todd announces with evil compassion, “And I will get him back as he gloats, in the mean time I’ll practice on less honorable throats!” Sweeney Todd’s need for revenge has taken over in such a way that he even admits himself, “The years, no doubt, have changed me,” and as the audience we realize, they have changed him for the worse.
Then we have Ms. Lovett who becomes an accomplice to Sweeney Todd when she agrees to make and sell pies that contain the bodies of all the people Sweeney Todd has murdered. She does this act out of revenge on her accompanying pie making neighbor Mrs. Mooney, as well as revenge on her own life that has not granted her with money and greed. She goes to extreme extent to feel this revenge, that otherwise may not have made her this insane women she has become. After all her hard work in pie making for revenge, she still never gets to experience the rich, fanciful life she had always dreamed of.
By the end of the story, Ms. Lovett dies when Sweeney Todd pushes her into a burning fire oven. Sweeney Todd finally seeks his revenge and slits Judge Turpin’s throat, but through his killing spree also unknowingly kills his wife and then dies himself with a slit in his throat by Toby as Toby states, “You shouldn’t harm nobody”. So in the end, whether or not Sweeney and Ms. Lovett actually seek their revenge fully or not, they both end up destroying their lives because of their need to seek that revenge.
It is sad to think that someone could spend their whole life living through such hatred, but the characters of Sweeney Todd and Ms. Levitt in the production of Sweeney Todd show that it does happen, and there really is no good that could come of seeking revenge.