Our Country's Good : How Does Theatre Convey the Exploration of Identity ?

3685 WordsJun 10, 201215 Pages
Wertenbaker’s dramatic exploration of identity in Our Country’s Good - How does theater convey the exploration of identity? The play Our Country’s Good, written by Timberlake Wertenbaker, illustrates the characters’ exploration of identity, whether through their belonging to a society, through theater and thus language, or through the social experiment the setting up of the play represents. The word drama, first used in the course of the 16th century, comes from the Greek drama, meaning “action”, or “to do”. In Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good, one of the aims of drama is to exhibit a picture of human life, and consider some of the difficulties a human being experiences in his life, such as finding one’s genuine identity. Our…show more content…
Theater brings a new identity, along with the blurring of social classes: in a play, everyone is equal and the convicts are finally listened to as well as respected. The identity is not this of a group based on social class anymore, but on mutual respect and on the understanding of each other’s worth. Wertenbaker, through Captain Phillip, uses Rousseau’s egalitarian thoughts to qualify this change: “human beings have an intelligence which has nothing to do with the circumstances in which they are born”, in Act two Scene two: all humans have an innate worth that cannot be ignored and is part of the identity they are subconsciously seeking during their whole life. The Recruiting officer itself is the microcosm of this society in which everyone wants to find a place: there is a fight between different classes, as Melinda doesn’t want to marry Worthy any more but a wealthier captain because she inherited a large sum of money. Furthermore, the play is also an illustration of sin in a way, such as Sylvia when she pretends to be Rose and is accused of ravishing her. It also reflects impossible love and sexual frustration, which drive the characters during the whole play. Indeed, in Our Country’s Good, the characters also explore identity through sexuality. Harry dies of sexual repression and above all sexual paranoia, as he is haunted by Handy Brewer, a convict whom he has hanged
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