Composers and their stage works 

Jonah and the Whale

James Bridie

Drama (1932)

Jonah appears as an egotistical, urbane philosopher in the year 825 B.C. He is highly regarded by all the people of his village, Gittah Hepher, except the commercial traveller Bilshan, who considers him impractical and unworldly. Jonah claims to have saved Gittah Hepher from the Lord's wrath when he rid it of the foul state of adultery and idolatry. Now he feels that the city of Nineveh must be saved also, but he is afraid to tackle the job. He tries to escape the problem by taking a sea voyage, but the ship runs into trouble, and Jonah, who has had a revelation from God, convinces the crew and passengers they should throw him overboard in order to save the others. This done, Jonah is swallowed by a whale which lectured him for the three days of his confinement. When the whale opens its mouth to swallow water, Jonah is cast out onto land.

The final act shows Jonah in Nineveh warning the populace of the city's destruction, but when nothing happens, Jonah is mortified and says he should have heeded the whale. He cries out that he will never prophesy again, curses his fate, and realises that he is only an ordinary man.