A Sense of Tragedy and Humour in alan Bennett's Talking Heads Monologues

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A Sense of Tragedy and Humour in alan Bennett's Talking Heads Monologues

Alan Bennett uses a variety of techniques to convey a sense of both tragedy and humour in his 'Talking Heads' monologues. I will be looking specifically at 'Bed Among The Lentils' and 'Cream Cracker Under The Settee.' Alan Bennett achieves both of these effects by use of several clever choices regarding the casting as well as sound and visual effects.

There are two very different types of humour in 'Bed Among The Lentils' and 'Cream Cracker Under The Settee'. BATL uses a lot of sarcastic, bitter humour whereas CCUTS uses some wry, discreet humour and at times Doris, the elderly woman in CCUTS, seems to be mocking herself
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Susan is a very sarcastic and bitter person. This may be due to her marriage with Geoffrey as this is a very boring situation for her. Not only this, Geoffrey exploits her alcoholism to make people think he is a caring husband willing to stand by his wife every step of the way.

'He grips my hand in public, nay brandishes it.'

This line implies that Susan feels trapped in her marriage and is unable to stop Geoffrey taking control and making her decisions for her.

Doris has also had a very unhappy life with several tragic incidents, most notably, the loss of her baby at a very young age.

'I wanted him called John. The midwife said he wasn't fit to be called anything'

'All them years ago when we were first married and I was having the baby.'

These lines show that Doris lives in the past a lot and this probably contributes to her sadness as she is unable to move on from the loss of her baby and later, the loss of her husband.

Doris is also extremely reliant on Zulema to carry out jobs in and around the house for her. this frustrates Doris as she would rather be doing this herself to ensure that they are done properly.

'Zulema doesn't dust. She half dusts.'

This shows that Doris is unsatisfied with Zulema and is rather fussy when it comes to cleanliness.

Susan is constantly
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