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Instance's of the Number 3 - Original Paiting   Instance's of the Number 3 - Original Paiting
Instances of the Number 3

When Peter Hansome dies it is not an end but a beginning. The beginning of a new understanding for his wife, Bridget, his mistress Frances and, most of all, for Peter himself.

In a sense, 'Instances of the Number 3' is part of a tradition of English ghost stories. Peter's ghost, like a much more famous one in literature, the ghost of Hamlet's father, is, we learn still here for a purpose. In his life he has made errors of judgment which have affected those he leaves behind. And in the gap between this world and the next he must lean the meaning of his mistakes.

His wife, Bridget, is a lover of Shakespeare and it is through her thoughts about Hamlet, and the ghost who visits him, that she comes to understand her dead husband. We learn that Peter is in purgatory, the place where in the old religion humankind were 'purged' or cleansed of their sins so that they might enter the knigdom of heaven.

In taking the old pre-Reformation idea of purgatory I was, rather like Shakespeare, using a literal idea as a metaphor, for the way in which our attitude to the past can affect it. The old idea was that by praying for the dead you could shorten their time in purgatory. Bridget, through thinking about Hamlet, and talking to her dead husband, releases him from his own misdemeanours and comes to a deeper understanding of herself. Our memories of the past - or the dead - affect our present lives and 'Instances of the Number 3' explores this idea and the liberating possiblities of forgiveness.. Life and death are not simply physical states of being: they are metaphors for states of being, or the way we take life. And maybe the barriers between life and death are more permeable than we, in our super-rational age, suppose...

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