Cleansing Soaps

It is impossible to summarize the standard soap opera plotline without sounding lowbrow. Merely mention Roy and his on-again, off-again paramour Bobbie's midair escape from a plane piloted by the crooked agent Larkin, and you've succumbed to trite melodrama. But the general viewer often fails to recognize that soaps have their roots in the English sentimental novel of the 18th century. For A Martinez, who plays Roy DiLucca, the reluctant FBI informant with a past, melodrama doesn't mean being false. "Some [soaps] are much more comical, sketching the giant heaving breasts romance vibe, but General Hospital has always been about a darker kind of take on gangster culture."

What about Aristotle's contention in The Poetics that tragedy should inspire terror and pain, resulting in catharsis for its audience?

"Whenever you see art and encounter someone getting their ass kicked, it reminds you that you're lucky your ass isn't kicked."

Does Roy have tragic flaws?

"He allowed himself to be used by powers beyond his control."

Can General Hospital push beyond the fourth wall and touch people's lives?

"When I first read A Farewell to Arms in high school, I had that first sense of … how you get jolted into some recognition of yourself in the pages of that work," Martinez reflects, citing many instances in which fans have described similar emotional connections with his character. "I know from personal experience that art has occurred. It's not about the fact that I'm cute; it's about the fact that the work I did touched them."

So when you consider his character's association with a redeemed prostitute, his death and eventual resurrection, those allusions to Roy DiLucca as a Christ figure may be intentional.

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Dylan Otto Krider