January 16, 2017 General Studies

B”, the Book of Job is recreated in a new setting, with characters new and old. However, out of the cast of characters, Zuss and Nickles are added to play the roles of God and Satan. Although both absorb the roles of deities, they both remain merely actors and seem to imply humanistic characteristics. Not only do they appear on a consistent basis, but Nickles debates with Zuss over J.B, and at one point, even converses with Job. But Satan as Nickles” role in particular is heavily modified from the original Biblical tale. Curiously enough, the commentary from Nickles does not reflect the possible morals of God’s “counterpart”. Rather, Nickles often serves as the voice of cynicism, often found in human thinking. As the play progresses, Nickles” morals become more blurred by the fact that his role as Satan blends with his humanistic reasoning. .

Although Zuss” role is quickly confirmed, Nickles has a difficult time even comprehending what Zuss thought he should play. Even after discovering for himself, he declares that “I wouldn’t do it. Fit my face to that! I”d scrub the skin off afterward!”(19) Despite his initial awkwardness in adjusting to his role, Nickles seems to fit in quickly and readily. Yet the role of Satan that he does so well is not what would be expected from a Satan from Biblical times. Keeping in mind that Nickles is still human, he sounds more indignant to Job’s blind faith acceptance. “It isn’t decent! It isn’t moral even! It’s disgusting! His weeping wife in her despair and he beside her on his trembling ham-bones praising God! It’s nauseating!”(93) It sounds very much like what any other person would think while regarding Job. Without quite saying it, MacLeish seems to suggest that Nickles is voice of reason despite his role as Satan. Perhaps Nickles did not completely accept the role of Satan as one could imagine and his human consciousness is causing problems. .

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By rejecting God’s “plan” and mocking it, Nickles and his position now knows as much as any human would about the purpose of life.


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