The Piano Lesson

Examines the importance of the piano in August Wilson’s play.

At the heart of August Wilson’s Pulitzer Prize winning play, “The Piano Lesson”, is the piano itself. This paper interprets the ‘character’ of the piano and discusses its importance in the overall drama of the play. The piano is a pivotal piece of the action and climax, and it reappears throughout the play as a source of friction and healing.
“The piano does not breath, but it seems to have a life of its own and without it, the play could not possibly exist, or have the impact it does. The piano’s lesson is clear, family is more important than money, and sentimentality is often the only way to exorcise the demons of the past so that one can move along to the future. The play’s dramatic impact lies in the climax of Berniece playing the piano, and the resolution that follows. The piano is the center of the drama, and used as another character by the author, it makes perfect sense that an inanimate object could be so important.”