Wertenbaker’s dramatic exploration of identity in Our Country’s Good - How does theater convey the exploration of identity?
The play Our Country’s Good, written by Timberlake Wertenbaker, illustrates the characters’ exploration of identity, whether through their belonging to a society, through theater and thus language, or through the social experiment the setting up of the play represents. The word drama, first used in the course of the 16th century, comes from the Greek drama, meaning “action”, or “to do”. In Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good, one of the aims of drama is to exhibit a picture of human life, and consider some of the difficulties a human being experiences in his life, such as finding one’s genuine identity. Our
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In the end however, the convicts have accepted to fully enter their roles and are ready to act them. Thus, to a certain extent, they can identify to the English society as they have experienced the way of living of those that aren’t outcast, thanks to the play, and understand them better. Furthermore, Wertenbaker deliberately set his play in Australia, in order to be able to portray the embryo of a new society created by both officers and convicts, and the search for identity within this society. At first, the spectator can only distinguish two groups: the officers and the convicts. The latter clearly form a united group, as they are all equal; they have the convicts’ moral code of honor as shown in Act one Scene eight when Liz doesn’t want to denounce who stole in the stores; and they are brought together by a hatred of some of the officers like Ketch, the hangman, in Act one Scene eight when Liz and Dabby, previously quarrelling, “spit him off” as the stage direction states. Nevertheless, in the course of the play, the characters become more and more rounded characters, and the public gets to appreciate them for what personal qualities they can offer, and not only for the group they belong to. This way, the officers have different hobbies that enable us to differentiate them: Lieutenant Dawes is an amateur astronomist, while Johnston, like