Dead White Males - David Williamson

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Pages: 4
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Essay Database > Literature > English
Dead White Males, the play by Australian playwright David Williamson, deals with several conflicts which occur between the characters. Whether they concern patriarchy and feminism, or intellectualism and anti-intellectualism, these opposing ideas each spawn from the play’s chief conflict between liberal humanism and post-structuralism. In the beginning, the play’s main character, Angela Judd, finds herself somewhere amidst the two. During the course of the play she and the audience are presented with supporters …

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…people’s behaviour as guided by human nature, while Swain, being the post-structuralist, sees society as being controlled by many constraining ideologies. On several occasions intertextual meanings are constructed using Shakespeare’s plays, which position the audience to prefer one ideology above the other. Liberal humanism is favoured in the end. Swain is unsuccessful in his attempts to win his students’ support, and Angela and Steve close the play as a real-life Rosalind and Orlando.