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Hadestown is a Broadway musical that adapts the classic myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Through its adaptation, the writer, Anais Mitchell, adds a plot that reframes the story as a critique of capitalism. Through its depiction of the underworld as a landscape filled with the working class who slave away doing a menial task that will never be completed, and the depiction of a failed revolution, Mitchell is telling a story about a radical revolution coming from the working class to overthrow the ruling class. On the merit of its critique, while I interpret the message as being explicitly anti-capitalist, it ultimately fails in its critique as it can comfortably criticize capitalism while benefiting and profiting from the system. The text itself calls for a world that’s better than the one we live in, but this theme isn’t reflected in any real way in the real world. The actors and writers and directors tell a beautiful story about love and revolution, and yet, the musical Hadestown contradicts these ideas by perpetuating the system in the same way all Broadway musicals do.



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Hadestown: Performative Social Critique