‘beneath the humour Cosi is a brutal depiction of societies treatment of the mentally ill’ Louis Nowra set his play of ‘Cosi’ in the 1970’s during a time were society treated the mentally ill with an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality. This meant that people that were deemed mentally ill were simply locked away in asylums and this was societies ‘solution’ to the problem. The experiences of the patients in these asylums was often very horrific, they were make to endure treatment that was close enough to torture. Nowra draws from past experiences and uses ‘Cosi’ to provide the audience with an insight into how terrible the treatment was but in a more light hearted way, it allows people to empathise as well as understand the characters and not just see them as their mental illness. In the 1970’s people with mental illnesses were very much disregarded from society and looked down on, Nowra uses Nick and Lucy as his characters that represent society in that era. They are people that see the patients for their illness not for who they are as people. Nick and Lucy both have no respect for anyone in the institution and see themselves as superior to them. Nick states in the play that “not only are they nuts but they are right-wing nuts”. He has no respect for the patients and simply regards them as crazy. ‘working with these people has changed you’ is evidence from Lucy of her lack of significance places on the patients Lewis works with. By the way these two character talk about the people in the institution it is assumed they see nothing wrong with the way they are treated, however not all of society holds the same views. There were people in society during the 1970’s that did not share the majorities view and Lewis is Nowra’s example of people like this. He represents a minority of people that believed all people deserved to be treated well regardless of their mental state, people who saw the patient as equals.
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