The Power of the Convicts Unified:
The convicts are unified by their common affliction: repression. Their suffering binds them in a manner nearing persecution. The prisoners are degraded,staved and treated as second class citizens (“alone, nameless and frightened” – Act I, Scene 1). Nonetheless it is easy to perceive a comradery between the convicts similar to that of the lowers class.As the play begins to evolve, we can see that the group goes from bickering to express strength as a group for example in the scene where they can’t rehearse due to the excruciating pain they can hearendured by “Silence, except for the beating and Arscott’s cries” (Act II –Scene 5). Another great moment to demonstrate the group’s togetherness is when Dabby has decided to escape after the show andMary wants to tell Ralph however the group decides against it, in unison: “No you’re not” (Act II – Scene 11). The main evolution between the characters in the play is the shift from wariness tosolidarity.
In the beginning of the play, the narration focuses on them as a group, but as each individual has light shined upon on him, they cease to form one general group of “nameless”convicts and start to bond into a different group, one with identity and a newfound attribute: power. Just as we have been discovering the characters, the characters have been discovering their roles. Thesetheatric roles are relevant for two reasons; first of all, the convicts form a historical acting troupe which helps binding them. The second reason is that the convicts now have the power to expressthemselves under a new identity. For a group of people to in sorts rebirth frees them from the burden of the past, even temporarily. This gives them the much longed for power of expression, andtherefore of unity. Mary, for example, was almost muted during the first half of the play crushed by guilt and nostalgia. However, she gradually asserts herself as an independent person, even to appear as...
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