How Does the Herbal Bed Explore the Conflict Between What Society Expects of Us and Our Inner Devices?

1200 Words Dec 30th, 2013 5 Pages
The Herbal Bed explores the conflict and discrepancy between human desires and the social conventions and expectations, which endeavor to repress them. Peter Whelan utilizes this universal conflict by developing a string of moral dilemmas that prevail within and among the characters to explore the conflict between ones own desires and the expectations of the restricted Jacobean society. Moral dilemmas are utilized to endeavor the individual human desires and passions and what society believes to be morally correct. Weare confronted with a main moral dilemma that splits the audience between societies views and modern perspectives of Susanna. Our consideration of the main thematic concerns of truth, love and duty are vested in Susanna as she …show more content…
In the play, the complexity of Susanna lies in the appeal of her feminist ideology and the post-modern appropriation of her characterization, Whelan makes her the character that appeals to us the most as a 21st century audience. To do this he uses contextually specific moral dilemmas of other characters to underpin and support Susanna’s key moral dilemma of conformity and duty versus individuality. In Act 1, scene 1, Rafe’s dilemma was irrelevant to us but nonetheless the presence of that moral dilemma gives us the power to reflect on the meaningful ones, “Bowing’s what you do isn’t it? Doesn’t mean anything”. Susanna’s perceptive and insightful observations, complex nature and resolve make her a post-modern female protagonist. Whelan has taken the independent nature of Shakespeare’s dominant female characters, such as Beatrice and Juliet, to compose Susanna. “We all were surprised of the man and medicine and the poet’s daughter”, this acknowledges the structuring and composition of Susanna from her father’s plays. The beauty of Shakespeare’s language often comes through in Susanna’s revelation, “love’s alchemy”. To her, love and truth are tied up in belief that they have the power to transform, nurture and inspire an individual.

Related Documents