Most helpful critical review
** 1/2 (**** for the play, zero for Bentley's comments)
on November 17, 2003
Galileo is presented from the time of his first findings with which Mother Church took offense until twenty years after his recantation. While the play mainly focuses on Galileo and how his own views toward his work affect him and those around him, we're not allowed to go away without understanding how those views also affected the Italian society around him; as with all things, the subversion to be found in Galileo's discovery that the Earth revolves around the Sun instead of vice-versa seeps into the public mind, much to the Church's dismay. But at its heart, the play is about the man himself and those around him. Galileo himself, historically accurate or not, is a convincing character, and his family, friends, and supporters are also very well-drawn (with the arguable exception of his daughter, who never seems to really flesh out and become a believable human being; her actions and reactions are predictable and wooden). Whatever the message underlying, and whether the reader agrees with it or not, Galileo is first and foremost a decent piece of drama. Leave Bentley's preface until after you've drawn your own conclusions.