Challenging the Significant Ideas of Love, Fidelity, Sanity and Insanity in Cosi?
In the play Cosi Louis Nowra challenges the important themes of love, fidelity, sanity and insanity within a range of dramatic techniques. Cosi is set in Melbourne, during the early 1970’s. Numerous political and radical events were occurring. The Vietnam War protest was raging, the sexual revolution was rolling, and mental illness was still misunderstood and mistreated. Due to these contexts, love, fidelity, sanity and insanity are big issues that surface throughout the play. Nowra comments on society’s issues. Firstly, he uses dialogue to convey the characters various thoughts and feelings towards these issues. Secondly, he uses symbols to comment on the treatment of mental patients. Thirdly, Nowra uses conflict to discuss the issues that are faced by society. Finally, Nowra uses character development to portray a shift in attitudes towards the issues. By examining these dramatic techniques, we are able to see how Nowra challenges the ideas of love, fidelity, sanity and insanity.
One of the main and most important themes explored in Cosi is the question of love and fidelity. In Cosi, this issue is portrayed as a sore point for the characters, as most of them have split feelings about this topic and have very strong, different views. This is shown in Act 1 Scene 2 by Doug who says" Women like to pretend they don’t play around but they’re just more secretive about it." Cherry and Ruth are very negative about sex, stating that most women work hard to keep men out of their pants. While Julie thinks that love is "being foolish and stupid". Nowra uses these comments to show the characters feelings and thoughts towards love and fidelity. Another technique utilised in the play is conflict, in the context of love and fidelity, the topic ignites conflict between characters and the clash of conflicting views.
Love is defined as an intense feeling of deep affection or to feel a deep romantic or sexual attachment to someone. At the start of Cosi, love is thought to be not so important and a second hand emotion to anger and fear, which are the two main emotions driving the debate over the Vietnam War. At first, Lewis shares the same values as his best friend Nick, and his girlfriend Lucy, who believe that love isn’t important due to the ongoing Vietnam War. This is shown when Lewis says “Love is not so important nowadays.” (Page 10) Referring to the Vietnam War and the fact that with the turmoil and problems that the world is facing at that point in time, love is just not important and accepted with the way the world is at that point. This statement implies somewhat of a middle ground as it reflects the views and values of one group at the time, (the group who believes that love isn’t important in a time of crisis) but it challenges the attitudes of those who believed that love is in fact important and necessary in a time where hatred, anger and fear are so prominent. Julie - “…That’s what love is, being foolish. I’ve always thought love was being foolish and stupid. It’s about being on the edge and I like being on the edge”. From this quote Julie believes that to be in love is to be silly and do foolish things, go places, see and do things you haven’t done before and just live on the edge. It also seems that July sees love as a drug or having a drug like effect, which could be relevant as she is in the mental institution due to a drug dependency. This statement challenges the attitudes towards love in the 1970’s because in this time, even though societies view was starting to change, love was still viewed to e a simple straight affair. Nowra uses the technique of dialogue to convey the feelings and thoughts towards love by the cast members.
Fidelity is defined as faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support, or in the context of Cosi; Sexual faithfulness to a...