Study Guide

Our Town Mortality

By Thornton Wilder


From the very beginning of the play, death is present in the Stage Manager’s narration. He makes it clear that the events we’re about to witness are told in retrospect, and this understanding casts a pall over the everyday occurrences we witness. The characters onstage (with the exception of the deceased Emily) do not recognize the brevity of their lives.

Questions About Mortality

  1. To what extent does Our Town suggest an immortal human life?
  2. Which character is most conscious of his or her morality?
  3. Would the characters live their lives differently if they were aware of their mortality?

Chew on This

Our Town’s brevity as a play reflects it's deeper point regarding the brevity of life.