Cloud Nine ' By Caryl Churchill And The Importance Of Being Earnest By Oscar Wilde

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Drama is distinct in literature in that it can be brought to life in a way the standard novel cannot. This enables authors to explore various political issues in a more vivid way. In ‘Cloud Nine’ by Caryl Churchill and ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’ by Oscar Wilde, both authors explore ideas about gender in various ways. Churchill’s use of cross-dressing questions conventional ideas of the binary male and female sexes because it shows gender to be a construct. Wilde also inverts gender roles by showing how the main female figures exert power and control over the opposite sex. However, one could also argue that these plays do not question conventional ideas about gender as there are a lot of moments that reveal typical male or female stereotypes.
One way in which Churchill questions conventional ideas about gender is through a gender parody with cross-dressing and drag. We see from the very outset of the play that Betty is “played by a man” (1). From this moment, Churchill is trying to point to the audience that gender is a fabrication created by social standards and can be dressed up and disguised very easily, especially when it comes to men who choose to act on behalf of women and overpower them. Judith Butler points out in her article ‘Gender Trouble’ how “drag fully subverts the distinction between inner and outer psychic space and effectively mocks both the expressive model of gender and the notion of a true gender identity”. Butler examines how drag is a clever tool

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