1. Compare and Contrast How, and for What Dramatic Purpose, the Writers of the History Boys and Oleanna Present Characters Who Display Both Vulnerability and Villainy.

Topics: Villain, Sexual harassment, Royal National Theatre Pages: 4 (1675 words) Published: December 24, 2012
1. Compare and contrast how, and for what dramatic purpose, the writers of The History Boys and Oleanna present characters who display both vulnerability and villainy.

In both Oleanna and History Boys the writers include many controversial subjects to portray the characters in the plays to be both vulnerable and villainy. In Oleanna, Mamet involves sexual harassment and power throughout the play. Although, instead of using scenarios of sexual harassment near the time of the play (Clarence Thomas vs. Anita Hill) Mamet elects to centralize the subject of sexual harassment within the relationship of John being a college professor and Carol who is Johns student. However, the understanding of sexual harassment, and moreover rape doesn’t support Johns actions towards Carol, this therefore can create the conflictive view that Carol is the villain and John doesn’t act in a miscreant way. However John’s flaws of his ability to be extremely naive in such a delicate situation (one on one private meeting with a student of the opposite sex) can give the interpretation of an inappropriate circumstance for the teacher and student. In the History Boys Hector can be criticised as a libertine by groping the boys, however he is also vulnerable in the way which he is passionate about the boys and only gropes the boys on the motorbike and no further, furthermore Hectors uncertainty in life creates Hector to be vulnerable. On the surface of both plays, the characters can be interpreted ambiguously, as it’s uncertain as to whether a character is only vulnerable or villainy. Both Carol and Posner show an act of betrayal towards their teachers. In Oleanna Carol is first presented in Act 1 as a vulnerable and very insecure figure that persuades and provokes John to help her with understanding the course she “needs to pass”. Although, in Act 2 the betrayal of Carol towards John with the enforcement of the complaint can give the view that Carol takes advantage of Johns kindness and...
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