To What Extent Do Top Girls by Caryll Churchill and Dancing at Lughnasa by Brien Friel Agree on the Choices Available to Women?

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To what extent do Top Girls by Caryll Churchill and Dancing at Lughnasa by Brien Friel agree on the choices available to women? Caryl Churchill’s Top Girls and Brien Friel’s Dancing at Lughnasa are both plays set in times of great change. The former deals with the implications of the electoral success of Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s first female Prime Minister, while the latter grapples with the consequences of industrialization in Donegal, Ireland. The chief concern of both plays is how political changes affect the choices available to ordinary women. The two plays appear to be making political statements conveying personal standpoints of the playwrights. In the case of Churchill, it can be said that she is critiquing the Conservative…show more content…
This predicament further highlights the restrictions in terms of life choices for both characters. Marlene is Angie’s real mother but gave her child up to Joyce in order to pursue a career in London. Joyce accepts, believing she could not have children, but later on miscarries from the strain of bringing up Angie. We also learn that she separated from her husband Frank three years ago, while Marlene tells Angie about working in America, further highlighting the difference in the outcome of their respective choices. It is difficult to picture an opportunity for change arising for someone who is working four jobs to survive, with a child who will probably need taking care of for the rest of her life. Joyce’s poverty is further highlighted by the absence of a telephone at her home. Rose, in Dancing at Lughnasa, is dependent on Agnes who is her carer and makes many sacrifices for her. Agnes is devoted to Rose in a very maternal fashion. Like Joyce, Agnes sacrifices herself completely and goes to London with Rose, resulting in her dying alone and miserable. In both plays the relationships between carer and the less able appear to demonstrate that despite women being treated as inferior to men, and having far fewer choices they are still expected to take on very demanding roles. The Mundy family do not receive and support from the community and what little support Kate was receiving

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