Conflict in Successful Drama

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We live in a world where, without conflict, there is no entertainment. It is a convention of drama that there must be conflict between characters in order for it to be entertaining, and thus be successful. We can consider a text to be successful if the playwright is able to convey a view of a theme or issue to the audience that challenges our views as he or she originally intended. Through the conflicting views of characters, the audience is often exposed to attitudes and opinions different to their own. The One Day of the Year, by Alan Seymour, is a play that examines how through both the internal and external conflicts of different characters, we are exposed to an array of contrasting opinions, therefore validating the statement that this is successful drama. The main conflict between characters in The One Day of the Year is between Alf and his son, Hughie. Alf is a steadfast believer in Australia's superiority over other nations. He is jingoistic, xenophobic and stubborn. In fact, the first impression the reader gains of Alf is from his opening statement: "I'm a bloody Australian and I'll always stand up for bloody Australia." (Pg 27) But more importantly, he believes that Anzac Day is the one day of the year where he, and others like him, are considered heroes, and consequently can celebrate their heroism by getting blind drunk. Hughie, on the other hand, works towards exposing Anzac Day for what he believes it truly is- an excuse to get drunk. Hughie has been brought up with Alf's version of Anzac Day celebrations, and it is this which has shaped his anti-Anzac Day views. These two points of views are in direct conflict with each other, and are made all the more shocking by the fact that they belong to father and son- a relationship that is not traditionally in opposition. This conflict brings the audience's attention to the issues being explored, because these issues are the source of the conflict, and cannot be dismissed. By placing the opinions of Alf and Hughie towards Anzac Day at the extremes, Seymour forces the audience to consider a different point of view regardless of what their previous stance on the matter was. While it is evident that through this conflict we are introduced to different views, it is important to examine the individual character to fully understand why they hold these convictions. The reasons why both Hughie and Alf so strongly uphold their opinions is because of their own internal conflict. Alf, for example, feels so passionately about his own superiority on Anzac Day because he is insecure about himself. He feels ashamed about his own social background and education, and consequently overcompensates for this by both heightening his status on Anzac Day and putting greater expectations on Hughie to make up for his own failed schooling. The former can be seen when Alf proclaims to Jan, "I'm in a very good job, you know. This lift-driving, it's only temporary, see- [his family is surprised] and I've got a very good chance of getting into something better soon." (Pg 42) Here he is trying to prove to Jan that he is better than he assumes she thinks he is. He is obviously embarrassed and insecure about his status in the workforce, and must exaggerate in order to both impress Jan and feel better about himself. As aforementioned, Alf's insecurity causes him to act out his hopes though Hughie. Alf feels like he has wasted his chance for education so instead he forces Hughie to go through university in order to balance out his own lack of education. This is shown by Alf's reaction to the idea that Hughie wants to quit university: "You're gunna stay at that University till y've done the lot. And if it's a battle for you, right, it's a battle." (Pg95) Alf's attitude towards both his own status and Hughie's education due to his own insecurity is a source of conflict between Hughie and the other characters; it is Alf's inflated sense of ego on Anzac Day which Hughie objects to most. Thus through...
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