Analysis of 'Female of the Species' Play

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The Female of the Species is written by Joanna Murray-Smith, and directed by Kate Cherry. The plot is inspired by an incident in 200 when feminist author Germaine Greer was held captive in her own home by a mentally unstable student. The play manipulates dramatic elements, particularly tension, symbols, and mood to create dramatic meaning.

”Tension is the force which drives a drama. It is said to be the most important element, and no drama exists without some form of tension.” (Haseman et al, 1986) Tension of relationships was shown in the play as one relationship affected another. All the characters were intertwined. Tension of the task is closely linked to tension of surprise as the surprise came from the task. Molly’s aim that day was to shoot Margot Mason, for causing her and her mother so much trouble. The audience wasn’t sure whether Molly would actually shoot, when she suddenly blasted a hole in the roof, and shattered a vase.

”Symbols are what the drama makes us understand, and they can sum up the meaning of the play” (Haseman et al, 1986, pg 112). Two highly prominent symbols in The female of the species are the table which Margot is handcuffed to and Molly’s gun. The table had a bar running along the edge, and Margot’s handcuffs were looped around. This enabled the character to walk up and down the table, whereas being stuck in the one place would have proved difficult. This symbolises being trapped, and vulnerability

Mood is the feeling or atmosphere that is created by the dramatic action. Mood is created by combining the elements of drama. (The elements of drama, worksheet). The female of the species manipulates many different moods, all at the same time. Mood is closely linked to tension; as tension increases, mood increases, and as tension decreases, so does mood. Joanna Murray Smith changes the mood multiple times in the play, one mood coming from another; the seriousness and tension of the play builds and builds, and is harshly cut...
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