An interpretation of the sacrifice Abraham had to make with his son Isaac
|This is the third sketch I wrote for my drama group. (The second is posted entitled Abraham and Sarah) It is about a story in the old testament where Abraham, the father of a whole nation was told by God that he had to sacrifice his son to prove his love for God. The scene starts as Abraham and Isaac arrive at the mountain they're going to sacrifice on. Isaac is not aware of Abraham's dilemma. here I tried to encapture the inner struggle Abraham would have had leading up to this ultimate sacrifice.
Abraham and Isaac
ANGEL is sitting in the middle of the stage on a mound, waiting. ABRAHAM and ISAAC enter. ISAAC lagging slightly behind carrying a large pile of firewood, ABRAHAM sees ANGEL and stops, ISAAC can’t see him. ANGEL looks up at ABRAHAM.
ANGEL Mount Moriah, you’re here.
ANGEL It’s time.
ISAAC Did you say something dad?
ABRAHAM What? Oh, we’re here son, you can put the wood over there. (Points to the mound where ANGEL is sitting, ANGEL stands and moves towards ABRAHAM. ISAAC places the wood around the mound.)
ANGEL (To ABRAHAM) Are you ok?
ABRAHAM I don’t know, this is hard. Did God send you to make sure I did it?
ANGEL More like help you through it.
ISAAC I don’t understand, we didn’t bring any animals up with us, what exactly are we meant to be sacrificing?
ABRAHAM God will provide what he wants as a sacrifice Isaac, we’ll just have to pray and see what he says.
ISAAC OK, do we pray now? I’m really tired from carrying all the wood.
ABRAHAM Well why don’t you sleep for an hour and then we’ll start when you’re fully rested.
ISAAC Is that ok?
ABRAHAM Sure, try and get some sleep. (ISAAC lays down on opposite side of the stage to ABRAHAM, ABRAHAM turns to ANGEL) It’s just easier if he’s asleep.
ANGEL I understand.
ABRAHAM sits on the floor, his head in his hands.
ANGEL Try and breathe Abraham, it’ll be OK
ABRAHAM Don’t get me wrong, I’ll do what He asks of me. I just need a minute.
ANGEL Take your time.
ABRAHAM (Pause) There’s a big chance Sarah may never talk to me again.
ANGEL She understands what God’s asked of you?
ABRAHAM I think so, I mean she let me take him.
ANGEL Then she’ll still understand when you get back.
ABRAHAM I hope so
ANGEL I know so. (Pause) Tell me what you’re thinking.
ABRAHAM That I love him. That this may be the single most horrifying thing I’ve ever had to do. That I know I’ll never forget for the rest of my life the look on his face as he dies.
ANGEL Are you having second thoughts?
ABRAHAM No, (beat) it’s more like every inch of me is begging me not to do it, but I know I will.
ANGEL You do? How?
ABRAHAM Because as much as I love Isaac, I love God more.
ANGEL Come on, it’s time, he’s asleep.
ABRAHAM (Turns to ISAAC, takes a deep breath, walks over to him and starts tying rope around ISAAC’S hands and feet) Sarah used to come into his room late at night when she couldn’t sleep and just watch him sleep. When I asked her why she did this, she’d just smile at me and say ‘go and see for yourself.’ I never did. (Beat, looks at ISAAC for a moment) I’d like the record to show how much I hate this.
ANGEL It’s noted.
ABRAHAM (Stands up) I do have one question.
ABRAHAM Why now? Why like this? In this order?
ANGEL I’m sorry?
ABRAHAM Why make us wait almost a century for this child and then once we have him let us love him and get to know him and then ask this of me? Why promise me as many descendants as there are stars in the sky for years then when it finally seems like it’s coming true, ask for me to dash it again by killing the only chance I have of having that?
ANGEL God knows what he’s doing Abraham.
ABRAHAM Really? Does he know how much I love him? Does he know how much I hate this? Does he know how every part of me would rather turn the knife on myself rather than harm a hair on his head? Does he know how much I have wanted to scream to Isaac all the way down here to run for his life and never turn back, willing to take whatever horrific consequences come my way as long as he is safe? Does he know that?
ANGEL (Beat) He knows.
Pause. ABRAHAM looks at ANGEL for a moment and goes to say something else then changes his mind. He carries ISAAC over to the alter and starts to tie him to it. As he places ISAAC on the alter ISAAC starts to wake up.
ISAAC (Sleepily) Dad? What’s going on?
ABRAHAM Sssh Isaac, it’s ok, it’s going to be fine.
ISAAC I can’t move my hands or feet.
ABRAHAM Sssh, it’s ok.
ISAAC (Starts to get panicky) Dad, I don’t like this!
ABRAHAM Trust me Isaac, please.
ISAAC Dad. What are you doing?
ABRAHAM It’s what God wants Isaac.
ISAAC What does God want?
ABRAHAM (Pause, ABRAHAM turns to look at ISAAC for the first time and smiles weakly) You.
ABRAHAM takes a knife from his pocket and holds it in front of him. The next bit of dialogue has to be done fast and almost overlapping.
ABRAHAM I’m sorry
ISAAC Dad no!
ABRAHAM I know! I’m doing it
ISAAC Doing what?
ISAAC Dad! Please! I don’t want to die!
ABRAHAM Forgive me
ABRAHAM raises the knife in his hand, ANGEL lunges forward and grabs his hand.
ANGEL Abraham stop!
ABRAHAM (Turns to ANGEL) What are you doing?
ANGEL God doesn’t want you to actually sacrifice Isaac. Why else do you think that he’s provided you with that lamb over there?
ABRAHAM (Looks over to where ANGEL is pointing) I don’t understand
ANGEL The reason God chose you and Sarah for the life you have is because he recognises your faithfulness to him. His plan for you and your family is so big he wanted you to show your descendants an example of the type of faithfulness he needs his children to have. You’ve shown that.
ABRAHAM So I don’t have to kill Isaac?
ANGEL No, of course not. (Turns to Isaac who is laying panic stricken) Talk to your son,
ANGEL disappears and ABRAHAM starts to untie ISAAC. The moment he is untied ISAAC struggles free and runs to the other side of the stage.
ABRAHAM Isaac, please.
ISAAC You tried to kill me!
ABRAHAM I’m sorry
ISAAC Sorry? Dad you had a knife up to me and all you have to say is that you’re sorry? You ought to be locked up!
ABRAHAM You’re right, I don’t deserve any sympathy from you, I understand if you never forgive me, if you hate me. You should, what I did is unbearable to think about.
ISAAC Why did you do it? (Beat) Do you hate me or something?
ABRAHAM Of course not, I love you son.
ISAAC Oh and I suppose that’s your way of showing it?
ABRAHAM I don’t expect you to understand but I did it because God asked me to.
ISAAC God wanted me dead?
ABRAHAM You really think you would be alive right now if he wanted you dead?
ISAAC (Pause) Am I meant to be ok with this now then?
ABRAHAM It’s up to you when you’re ok with it.
ISAAC I’m gonna need some time.
ISAAC (Looks over where the ANGEL pointed the lamb out earlier) Is that lamb what we’re actually meant to be sacrificing?
ISAAC Ok, well let’s do this first, we’ll talk about it later.
Both walk off stage.