Top Girls Analysis

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How do Churchill and Angelis present the characters in Top Girls to examine the struggles for women in the historical context in which they are set. Remember to present alternative viewpoints in your answer and to examine the aspects of dramatic presentation and stagecraft in your textual study.

Top Girls by Caryl Churchill, written in 1982 and Playhouse Creatures by April De Angelis, written in 1993, are two congruent texts which delve into the ongoing war for women battling against the system of injustice. Both texts share a prevailing motif and exposes the struggle of what it would take to be a successful women, as well as demonstrating the immense maltreatment of women and whether or not it can be explained by the time period.

Top Girls
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An obvious example is Pope Joan, who pretended to be a man in order to gain her title and as a result, was “dragged out of town” and “stoned to death”. Churchill effectively used the dialect of Pope Joan to mirror the mindset of people at the time. The fact that she was “stoned” for being a woman showcases the bigoted views that many people held, that she would not be accepted for simply being a woman and so had to give up her female body in order to 'succeed' in her time. A connection can be made with Mrs Marshall in Playhouse Creatures as misogyny exists in both texts and both women face many struggles at the hands of men. Mrs Marshall is often disrespected and never taken seriously; for instance, the Earl of Oxford once called her a “Filthy Whore” to embarrass her and cause trouble for her. By showing someone such as an Earl insulting and degrading the women, the women’s position in society during the era of Restoration and the Earl’s superior social position is highlighted. By using the vulgar words to describe the women, the Earl’s superior social position is contributing to the suppression of women and emphasising the idea that women can simply suffer at the hands of language. An alternative …show more content…
Churchill presented Joyce and Angie’s thoughts and feelings through their dialect and the way they communicate with themselves. For example, Joyce, a particularly unsympathetic character, once refers to Angie, a low achiever, as a “fucking rotten little cunt”, representing the perspective of the working class and showing the underside of Marlene’s “Top Girls” success; for there to be a ‘top’ there must be a ‘bottom’. The use of language in Top Girls is used as an indicator of class status and hierarchy. Women who work at Top Girls – Nell, Win, and Marlene – all speak in a casual and elegant manner that suits them in their competitive circle of professional women. Whereas Joyce and Angie use curse-laden and harsh language to address each other, highlighting their working class status. Both texts are non-linear, with Top Girls being in non-chronological order where the climax reveals the adversities faced by Marlene in order to get where she is. Playhouse Creatures is structured in the way that the prologue is meant to be epilogue. Angelis did this so the audience can be left waiting in

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