From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
The stage directions tell us that it's a week later, and that we're in a "Mutual dream scene. Prior is at a fantastic makeup table, having a dream, applying the face. Harper is having a pill-induced hallucination" (1.7.1).
It's unclear whether we're in Prior's dream or Harper's hallucination. Who is dreaming of whom? It's weird.
Prior is putting on lots of makeup.
He freaks out because he thinks he looks dead.
They disagree over whether they're in Harper's hallucination or Prior's dream.
Harper points out that Prior is a man wearing makeup.
Prior admits that he is indeed a man.
Harper wonders whether Prior is an imaginary friend.
He says Harper is kind of old to be having imaginary friends.
She says she took a lot of pills and has emotional problems.
Harper asks him why he's wearing makeup.
He says he was having an emotional emergency and stole all the fall colors from the Clinique counter at Macy's.
Harper worries that Joe will be mad that she took so many pills.
Prior wants to know what kind of pills she takes.
She says she takes lots of Valium. Harper says she's not addicted because Mormons aren't allowed to be.
Prior tells her that he's gay.
"Oh! In my church we don't believe in homosexuals" (1.7. 27).
Prior quips, "In my church we don't believe in Mormons" (1.7.28).
She starts trying to figure out what's going on with whole mutual dream thing again.
Harper doesn't understand how Prior can be in her hallucination and she can be in his dream if neither of them have ever met. She reasons that you can only imagine things that are already stuffed into your brain.
Harper continues trying to figure it out: "Imagination can't make anything new, can it? It only recycles bits and pieces from the old world and reassembles them into visions [...] Nothing unknown is knowable" (1.7.29-31).
She says that this is the most depressing hallucination ever.
Prior tells her he'll try to be more amusing.
Harper says it's okay if he's not funny since he's so sick.
Prior is totally surprised. How does she know that he's sick?
She says you can see things sometimes when you're on "the threshold of revelation" (1.7.39).
Harper wants to know if he can see anything about her.
He says she's really, really unhappy.
She doesn't think that a particularly amazing revelation – the Valium addiction is probably a pretty big give-away.
Okay then, says Prior, how about this: your husband is gay.
At first Harper denies it, but then she asks, "Do homos take, like, lots of long walks?" (1.7.49).
Suddenly Harper and Prior seem to recognize each other – not literally, but in a deeper emotional, spiritual way.
Harper says she has to go because, "something just... fell apart" (1.7.55).
Before she leaves, she offers Prior another insight about him: "Deep inside you, there's a part of you, the most inner part, that's entirely free from disease" (1.7.59).
Prior doesn't think what she said is true. He thinks every bit of him is infected.
He starts wiping the makeup off his face, smearing it all around.
Just then, a large grey feather falls from above.
He picks it up.
A beautiful voice come out of nowhere, telling him, "Look up!" (1.7.64).
Prior does, but he doesn't see anybody.
There's a dramatic shift in lighting and the voice cries out, "Look up, look up,/ prepare the way/ the infinite descent/ A breath in air/ floating down/ Glory to... " (1.7.71).