-The History Boys-

Act 2 Scenes 13-16

Dakin talks with Irwin about his claim to have attended Corpus Christi College. Dakin says that he looked Irwin up in the alumni directory while he was at Cambridge for his exam, but Irwin was not listed. 


Irwin admits that he attended Bristol and only went to Oxbridge for his teaching diploma. 


Dakin doesn’t care, he criticizes Irwin’s inability to lie ‘properly’.


Dakin invites Irwin to ‘go for a drink,’ a phrase that Irwin correctly identifies as a euphemism for a sexual encounter. 


Dakin refuses to skirt the topic and directly asks Irwin for oral sex. Irwin seems unclear about how to respond; Dakin thinks Irwin is afraid of being seen in the same light as Hector. 


Dakin informs Irwin that he’s nothing like Hector and that Hector is a joke. Irwin does not agree with this assessment, but finally concedes to having ‘a drink’ with Dakin.


Dakin tells all the boys about his planned encounter with Irwin. Dakin also reveals that he had a meeting with the Headmaster. He asked him ‘what the difference [is] between Hector touching [them] up on the bike and [the Headmaster] trying to feel up Fiona’ .


Dakin blackmails the Headmaster into allowing Hector to stay. Dakin is high on his victory . He hugs Posner calling it ‘Posner’s reward’. 


He puts on his motorcycle helmet for what Posner calls ‘Hector’s reward’.

Hector comes into the room in a cheerful mood after having just been reprieved. 


Hector and the boys play their guessing game and, for the first time, Hector loses because he cannot identify a Pet Shop Boys song. 


Irwin and the Headmaster walk in. The Headmaster is horrified to see Dakin wearing Hector’s motorcycle helmet, as it violates his agreement with Hector. 


The Headmaster then suggests that Hector take Irwin on his bike instead, and Irwin agrees.


Scripps recalls the motorcycle accident that occurred after Irwin got on the back of Hector’s bike. Neither Scripps nor Irwin (who is now in a wheelchair) can recall exactly what happened, but Scripps offers a few possible theories. Irwin adds that he and Dakin never had their ‘drink’ and then Scripps reveals that Hector died in the crash.


The final scene is set at Hector’s funeral. The Headmaster and the boys speak about his love of literature. 


Mrs Lintott reveals the fate of each of Hector’s students, almost all of whom become successful professionals.


Lockwood and Crowther became magistrates, Timms owns a chain of dry-cleaners, Dakin is a corrupt tax lawyer who works in the Gulf States. Akthar is a headmaster and Rudge builds homes for first time buyers .


Meanwhile, the only student who truly ‘took [all of Hector’s teachings] to heart’ is Posner, who lives alone and suffers from jealousy of his successful classmates.

The History Boys

An unruly bunch of bright, funny sixth-form boys in pursuit of sex, sport and a place at university. A maverick English teacher at odds with the young and shrewd supply teacher. A headmaster obsessed with results; a history teacher who thinks he’s a fool.

In Alan Bennett’s classic play, staff room rivalry and the anarchy of adolescence provoke insistent questions about history and how you teach it; about education and its purpose.

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