chapter  5
20 Pages

Brave Silences: Understanding What Is Not Said in Terence Rattigan’s In Praise of Love

In Praise of Love, one of Rattigan’s last plays, presents a painful episode in the lives of Lydia and Sebastian Cruttwell, their son Joey, and their friend Mark Walters, a writer of popular fiction.1 Lydia is in the final stages of a terminal illness but conceals this fact from her husband and son in order to protect them. She does, however, confide in Mark, who has come to visit the Cruttwells and who was at one time (and perhaps still is) in love with Lydia. Throughout Act One Sebastian, a former novelist turned critic, treats his wife with what appears to be casual disregard. As the audience eventually discovers, however, this is simply a false front. Sebastian knows about Lydia’s illness, but believes he is concealing it from her in order to protect her.