The Firstborn


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Christopher Fry

Published by Dramatists Play Service

3 Female

This poetic drama is set in Egypt just before the great Exodus of the Jews

Moses has been away from Egypt for several years, and the Pharaoh has summoned him back to help with military campaigns

When Moses comes, however, his sole concern is for his people, who are used as slaves, cruelly treated and abused

During his absence Moses has become aware of his mission as leader of the Jews, and his loyalty to his Egyptian foster family has had to be put behind

The Pharaoh's son, Rameses, is a boy just emerging into manhood, who has never forgotten his hero-worship of Moses

He cannot accept his father's careless cruelty and disregard for the Jews in Egypt, and he wants to establish the old relationship with Moses

The Pharaoh and Moses come together, and the Pharaoh makes promises which are broken, one after the other; and following each broken promise comes one of the Plagues, until at last the Plague of Darkness is on the land

The moment has come when Moses will lead his people into freedom, and the signal for the Exodus is given by the last of the Plagues - the Death of the Firstborn

Every firstborn son of Egypt is to die, only the Jews are exempt; and it's not until the plague is beginning that Moses realizes that Rameses too will be destroyed by it

Though he runs to the palace where he and the Pharaoh's sister who had mothered him try to keep Rameses alive through their own lives, Rameses, too, is struck by the Plague and dies

Moses goes out to lead his people away, the seal put on their freedom by Rameses' death

"a poetic and deeply moving drama" ~ NY Journal-American

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