The Character of Hester Swane in by the Bog of Cats

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Hester Swane

Hester Swane reveals several traits of her personality, or has them revealed for her, during interchanges with other characters in Act One. One of these traits is her independence which she shows through a mixture of threats and strong language, for example when she tells Carthage that “If you think I'm goin' to let you walk over me like that, ya don't know me at all”. This portrays her sense of self-worth, that she doesn't want or allow anyone else to control her life, again seen when she tells Caroline Cassidy that she will take her daughter “Over my dead body”. However, despite her own convictions that she is independent her vulnerable side sneaks out the cracks when she lets her guard down. Her dependence on Carthage, for example, shows her need for other people to be involved in her life, seen in the line “My Life doesn't hang together without him” which she admitted to her friend Monica. This origin of this need for other people is suggested when she tells Josie about when her mother abandoned her, saying “And I watched her walk away from me across the Bog of Cats” clearly affected by this and views the event as an abandonment by the use of the phrase “walk away from me” rather than just “walk away” implying a sense of loss. Hester also has a cruel streak to her character, possibly as a result of her need for other people which her independent side must hate, portrayed through her bitterness towards other people and her anger that her efforts to fit in didn't work. This is particularly seen when convincing her daughter to brush her teeth, saying "Ya need them for snarlin' at people when smilin'doesn't work any more". The use of the word “any more” shows that she golds resentment for failures she may have made to make peace with people, which has made her a cruel person. She seems to lack empathy towards other people, this idea is support by Xavier Cassidy when he says Aye, “Christian compassion, a thing that was never bet into you”. A lack...
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