How does Nowra portray the idea that ‘madness’ is a matter of perspective?
Throughout the play ‘Cosi’, the audience witness the lives of mentally ill people unfold before them. Louis Nowra uses black comedy and a play-within-a-play structure to force the audience to see the characters as “normal people who have done extraordinary things” rather than just their mental illnesses. Ecplored though the actions of the government in the Vietnamese war that lead to strong anti-war attitudes and a seemingly foolish society that value ‘free-love’ voer fidelity.
Nowra intends to blur the boundaries between sanity and insanity. By intentionally never labeling patients illnesses Nowra is successful in very subtly getting audiences to question what “madness” really is. Looking through outsiders eyes, like Nick and Lucy, the patients are assumed to be “madmen”, however, from the patients perspective, the radical left wing acticists Lucy and Nick with their cometemporary views of love and fidelity being “the last gasp of bourgeois romanticism” are the absurd ones. - shown through the radical left wing activists Lucy and Nick. Their contemporary views of love and fidelity being “the last gasp of bourgeois romanticism” are seen absurd, especially through Henry’s eyes. - Ruth gains a career from her supposed “madness”, as does Zac. - In the eyes of Lucy and Nick, Lewis’ mere involvement in the play is seen as “madness” Nowra proposes the idea that ‘madness’ is not always a simple psychological or psychiatric diagnosis, but is sometimes a matter of perspective and judgement. It embodies a wholistic view of human behaviour rather than an attitude of diagnostics and labelling. They are presented as people who induldge in extremities of ‘normal’ behaviour.
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