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THE GIFT OF THE GORGON. By Peter Shaffer. The Royal Shakespeare Company, Barbicon Pit Theatre, London. 12 December 1992.
After his brief fling with comedy in Lettice and Lovage, Peter Shaffer has once again returned to his vintage (and highly profitable) epic style in his latest play, The Gift of the Gorgon. As with his previous hits in the serious mode, Equus and Arnadeus, Shaffer here presents an intellectual, intensely psychological character study, around which he develops several broad moral and philosophical issues. Also, as in his earlier serious works, this play asks more questions than it answers. The Gift of the Gorgon, like its predecessors, is essentially a mystery story, where the plot revolves around the discovery of the motivations behind a horrible crime, but where the "whodunnit" aspect of the story is ultimately subsumed within larger moral and psychological issues.
Shaffer's central themes in The Gift of the Gorgon are, if anything, broader and more fundamental than in any of his previous works, His aim is to wrestle with no less a body of philosophy than …