Greeting the Apocalypse: Anarchic Dystopia in Bond’s The Balancing Act

Anarchic Dystopia in Edward Bond’s The Balancing Act


  • ali inan Government College University Lahore


Apocalypse, Anarchy, Dystopia, Structural Realism, Neo Realism, The Balancing Act


This paper presents a neorealist approach to the consequent greeting of the apocalypse because of the anarchic structure of society and the world community, as depicted in Edward Bond’s play The Balancing Act. This paper discusses the play through the lens of the theories of International Relations, namely, structural realism and neo realism as propounded by Kenneth Waltz, John Mearsheimer, and Joseph Grieco in relation to the anarchic structure of international politics and society. Presence of a supreme sovereign authority can ensure order in the affairs of society and the world at large. However, absence of such an authority leads to an anarchic system where coercive power holds the sway. There are no moral principles, and there are bleak chances of cooperation. One feature of a dystopic society is that it exudes disorder. In the paradigm of structural realism, the prevailing anarchy may lead to a dystopic world where it is necessary to find a balance; otherwise, apocalypse might be inevitable. Edward Bond, in his play The Balancing Act, displays a deep sense of the prevailing anarchy in the existing world order. The ‘city’ in The Balancing Act is reflective of the dystopic existence in an apparently crumbling world order. The ‘city’ is an incapacitated conglomeration of a traumatized community because of its struggle for a balancing act in an already imbalanced world. The metropolitan appears gloomy and silent. Moreover, the inhabitants give a materialistic response to the inner callings of the soul as well. The madness, melancholy and frenzy are mere symptoms of an underlying anarchy in individual, communal, and international life. Neither the protagonist forces nor the antagonist forces in the play could perform the balancing act to avert the apocalypse due to the anarchic structure of life, and consequently greet the approaching apocalypse.

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