Terra Nova Book Review


Terra NovaBook Review

Terra NovaBook Review

Terra Novais a screen play written by Ted Tally. The play is about twocompeting explorers and their crew from Norway and Britainrespectively. They are engaged in an Antarctic expedition to claimthe South Pole for their kings. The British explorer is Robert FalconScott and his Norwegian counterpart is Roald Amundsen. Before thejourney the explorers introduce themselves to the Royal Societyexplaining their expedition strategies where Scott would race both toand from the Pole on foot due to his ethical obligation ofsportsmanship and ethical attitude towards harming animals like dogs.Amundsen on the other hand would use dogs to haul his sledges.

Thejourney kicks off in January 1912, with Falcon Scot, his wifeKathleen and crew, Oates, Wilson, Evans and Bowers aboard their shipTerra Nova and there after racing to the South Pole on foot draggingtheir heavy sledges in furs and fleeces. Amundsen and his crew takesledges and dogs as their transport aids. Amundsen and his crewmanage to complete the journey first securing the South Pole fortheir king. Throughout the journey Amundsen taunts Scott as a failureand compulsive.

Additionally,he is particularly depicted to reveal Scott’s conscience showinghis internal doubts and failures. During the return journey Scott andhis crew dies one by one due to the freezing cold and gangrenouswounds sustained during the journey. The search party found themfrozen to death together with their scientific specimens and recordsat least eleven miles from their expected pick up points.

Thecharacters in the play are well described. Scott life is revealed injuxtaposition to his softer life in the city and the treacherousjourney in the Antarctic. His true nature is shown through hisinteractions with his wife, crew and Amundsen. Scott and his wife arejuxtaposed to show the artistic and intelligent nature of the wifefrom the compulsive, withdrawn and obsessive personality of Scott.They have been married for two years and blessed with a son. Theyhowever, seem to blend well consummating each other’s shortcomings.

Variousthemes are depicted in the play. Theme of ambition and heroism iswell articulated in the lives of Scott and Amundsen especially duringthis time when exploration was the heroic order of the day. They bothwanted to be heroes in their own ways and are obsessed by the notionof claiming the South Pole for their kings. The relationship betweenheroism and actual experience depicted the state in the world at thetime.

Thetheme of ideological change is also well portrayed in the play. Thecynical attitude portrayed by Amundsen foreshadowed the ideologicalparadigm shift from the 19thcentury to the 20thcentury with Scott’s death marking the death of one century and thebirth of another. Scott’s and his crew’s doom portrayed the shiftfrom the British idealism, nobility and the Victorian optimism to aworld which was in the verge of war, chaos and immorality. Britishhad for a long time held the super power position under the queen’sreign through colonialism, imperialism and ethical ideologies.Scott’s death marked the end of this era and opened a chapter for anew world order.

Generallythe play shows a psychological study involving men who are obsessedand consumed by ambitious goals which leave them withdrawn,disconnected and dead. This psychological tension in the charactersof Scott and his crew through their hard experiences and struggles toachieve their ambitions is the central core of the play.