The South Pacific is a musical play by Oscar Hammerstein and Richard Rodgers adapted from one of the South Pacific tales by James Michener. The appeal of the play is simple with composition collections that are stunning with immense sounds that were orchestrated by both the authors. The characters in the play exercise a simple but cohesive role and it is through them that themes such as race, love and war are depicted. The play is centered on the US army taking part in the World War II who had there camp stationed on the island of South Pacific. The author introduced the theme of love through a young nurse by the name Nellie who finds herself in love with a French nationalist and owner of a plantation in the island by the name Emile. Though in love, the two have problems with their romance as result of Emile past. However, after the thick and thins of war and betrayal, the two manage to live together happily after (Rodgers and Hammerstein 65).
The theme of conformity comes out with the use of happy and upbeat music especially through the song ‘You’ve Got to be Taught’. The lyrics attached to the song are so profound that it leaves some of the characters singing alone every time. The way Cable sung the song clearly indicated how the song had musical power. Racial prejudice is also evident in the play. Nellie has difficulties in accepting the children of Emile because of their mixed race. Cable on the other hand finds it hard to absorb the prejudice that would be in his life if he happens to marry a woman from the Asian race. The song ‘You’ve Got to be Taught’ can also be taken to be encouraging communist. The theme of war is evident in the whole play as it is the World War that brings most of these characters together and helps in the development of the story. The theme forms a basis for the development of other themes like love. The characters in the play are restless seebees, marines and sailors on the island who are sorely and bored in need of women company. Different music genres have been used in the play including overture orchestra, duet like the ‘wonder how I’d feel’ by Nellie and Emile, and underscores. The music genres were accompanied with instruments like horns, strings, piano, trumpets and tuba (Rodgers and Hammerstein 34).