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Compare and contrast the ways in which two plays investigate the question of gender - Essay Example

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Compare and Contrast– Cloud Nine and Women Beware Women Many of the classical plays raises questions regarding gender, sexuality and relationships in both positive and negative perspectives. Here we take into consideration the two plays, Caryl Churchill’s Cloud Nine and Howard Barker’s Women Beware Women, and focus on the similarities and the differences both have…
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Compare and contrast the ways in which two plays investigate the question of gender

Download file to see previous pages... Both the plays explore the depths of lust, power and money through the struggles of the characters, who are in a quest after it. In this article, we discuss by comparing and contrasting the various themes, characterization and ideology of the two plays, particularly investigating the question of gender. Women Beware Women: The play Women Beware Women was originally written by Thomas Middleton in 1657 and later on, in 1879, Howard Barker, one of the prolific playwrights of that period, revamped it to the modern world audience. The play was primitively observed as a Jacobean tragedy, until when Barker replaced the Jacobean Puritanism with the ‘modern’ adaptation, putting forward his views on the redemption power of sex. According to the Barker’s version of the play, Women Beware Women tells the story of Bianca, a rich daughter, who elopes with her love, Leantio and lives secretly in his mother’s place. Despite her husband’s exhortation, the Duke of Florence determines to lure her with the help of Livia, a wealthy widow in the neighborhood. Bianca is seduced by Duke and turns to be his mistress leaving her husband. Parallel to it goes the story of Isabella, who engages in an affair with her uncle, Hippolito, with the help of his sister Livia, and later is forced for a marriage with a rich foolish Ward. On the night before the wedding of Bianca, she is raped by Sordido, as a punishment for her acquisitive complicity for the Duke’s seduction. However, the Ward is not ever a fool and has pretended to be so for hiding his despair for Isabella. By the end, Livia is reformed as a liberated woman with a highly igniting passion towards Leantio. Cloud Nine The two-act play Cloud Nine is written by Caryl Churchill in 1979 with the workshops of Joint Stock Theatre Company. In the first Act, the characters are set in the backdrop of Victorian era, when the British colonialism was in full swing. However, in the second Act, the setting is changed to a reformed culture in London during 1979, when the Victorian ideology of restrictions are loosened yet several other forms of repression exist in the society. In Act I, Clive, the British colonial administrator, lives with his wife Betty, son Edward and daughter Victoria. Meanwhile, Harry Bagley, an explorer and Mrs. Saunders, a widow arrives seeking protection from the natives. Matters start changing dramatically in the family when Clive ogles with Mrs. Saunders, while Betty fancies Harry, whereas Harry gets intimate with the servant Joshua. The governess Ellen reveals her lesbian nature which is confronted by Clive, forcing her into a marriage with Harry, even after his gay sexuality is disclosed. The play forwards with the marriage celebration, where Mrs. Saunders is kicked out by Clive for her disgusting behavior with Betty for kissing Clive. The Act ends with Joshua pointing a gun at him when he starts to initiate a speech for the couple. Act II happens a few decades later in a setting in London and the characters are grown up. Betty, after leaving Clive, lives with her daughter Victoria, who is now married to Martin, an authoritarian husband. Edward, in the new scenario, is openly gay, leading a relationship with Gerry, whereas, Victoria begins a lesbian relationship with Lin. However, Edward discovers that he is bisexual and moves in with Lin and Victoria. Finally, Victoria leaves Martin and goes for living together with Lin and ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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