Date of Award
Edith Cowan University
Bachelor of Arts Honours
Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences
Dr Charles Edelman
This thesis investigates the various states of alienation that exist in the early plays of the British dramatist Tom Stoppard. By first defining alienation (and discussing the areas of contention which surround the concept), it proceeds to argue that whilst Stoppard has been greatly revered as a comic writer his works are equally consequential for their sensitivity and insight. They depict a prolificacy of characters who fail to assimilate with their society, can no longer relate to those around them and, as is often the case, reach for, but never manage to grasp a sense of their own identity. The diversity of emotional states that arise from such a condition will be discussed at length. In considering the plight of these characters, it will be necessary to also consider the nature of the societies in which they are embedded, and to ask where the true source of alienation arises. The societies portrayed by Stoppard are far-ranging: East and West, repressive and liberal, indeed, even meta-theatrical, yet they are unified by a common failure; the inability to engender a sense of real connection amongst their members. The impression we get with many of these early plays is that Stoppard's alienated protagonists are not facing an unusual predicament, rather they are indicative of man in a modern, atomised society-that they are, ironically, “in good company".
Hounsome, S. (1999). Loneliness Underneath Laughter : Aspects of Alienation in the Early Plays of Tom Stoppard. Edith Cowan University. https://ro.ecu.edu.au/theses_hons/845