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First, it is evident that the play depicts men as traditionally violent and dictatorial especially against their wives and members of the female gender. Nottage depicts this from the first scene of the play with the violent shouting from Samuel commanding his wife to disappear. In this case, it is evident that the play depicts Samuel as a traditional man who abuses his wife all through despite the seriousness of what he identifies as mistakes. The traditional role of women doing everything for their men is evident whereby Samuel expects his wife to do all her chores and he cannot even engage in simple tasks such as picking up the shirts he will wear the following day (Nottage, n.d.). in doing this, Nottage appears to advance the traditional role of women as being ‘helpers’ to their husbands with their husbands playing a superior role than women, even in a society whereby women are increasingly competing with their male counterparts in various fields that were previously deemed as a forte for their male counterparts.
Revisiting Loureen’s reaction following the disappearance of Samuel, it is evident that the play associates women with the traditional roles of child caring and housekeeping as the primary functions that women should play in a relationship, and most importantly in a marriage. Loureen tells her husband that he promised to be good once he came back and asks him to come back so that the two could sit down and iron out their issues. She thinks that she is responsible for the disappearance of her husband despite cursing him at the beginning of the play, which is indication that she has accepted her traditional female role, which is a theme that Nottage advances throughout the play. To some extent, the play appears to support the traditional aspect of women accepting to undergo abuse by their husband while accepting blame for situations that they did not have control over the outcome. In this case, women appear to be submissive to their husbands.
The character of Florence, who is Loureen’s upstairs neighbor, further advances the traditional role of women as being dutiful to their husbands and being subordinates to their husbands. Her first expression after hearing of the purported murder was a feeling of pure illusion since she could not imagine that a woman had the capacity to confront their husband leave alone committing murder and killing their husbands. In this case, Nottage identifies women as traditionally powerless to their male counterparts with wives not given a chance to confront their husbands and express their emotions while disagreeing with the behavior of their husbands. In
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