Cosi

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Lewis’ interaction with the patients forces the audience to realise that often the real world is not such a good place.

The interactions between Lewis and the patients in Louis Nowra’s play Cosi, challenge the audience to view the real world as a difficult place. Within the context of Australian society experiencing drastic social and political changes in the 1970’s, Nowra contrasts the views and believes of the patients living in the asylum against the opinions of the real world. Whilst in the asylum, the protagonist Lewis undergoes radical changes; his altered perspective demonstrates how the real world is not such a good place. The belief of having a relationship in which ‘men’s double standards’ aren’t an issue is presented as a possibility in the asylum. The asylum also gives the patients the opportunity to re-create themselves which is not possible in the real world.

As the protagonist Lewis is first introduced into the play, he is characterised as naïve and easily influenced by the ideals presented in the real world. These preconceived notions regarding the asylum force himself to ask, “Why can’t I ever say no?” as he realises the ‘madness’ he has gotten himself into. As the play progresses, the characterization of Lewis develops through continuous interaction with the patients which allows him to recognise them as ‘normal people who have done extraordinary things’, which is how Justin explained them at the beginning. The turning point for Lewis is when he chooses to continue work on the play instead of assisting his friend Nick with the Moratorium, showing that he has realised how much more important working in the asylum is than the trivial real world problems which Nick focuses on. The stronger the bond becomes between Lewis and the patients the easier it is for the audience and Lewis himself to realise how unjust the real world is by placing stereotypical prejudices on the asylum.

Love and fidelity is the main theme explored throughout Cosi,...
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