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Protagonists in Top Girls (Caryl Churchill)

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SCHILD Amber TS1 LE essay: Who is/are the protagonist(s) in Top Girls? A protagonist is a term used to refer to a figure or figures in literature whose intentions and character are the primary focus of a story, the protagonist can also be seen as being the most important character in terms of giving meaning to the story and transmitting the playwright's messages to the audience. In ancient Greek drama there could only ever be one protagonist, with other important characters given names in relation to the main character such as the foil, the antagonist etc. We can wonder whether the idea of a single protagonist holds true in Top Girls, if there is one at all. Indeed, the story of Top Girls is not particularly evident, and if the play has no real story then it is impossible for there to be a protagonist according to the definition. If, however, there is a protagonist then we can wonder what exactly the roles of the other "main" characters are. There is very little action in Top Girls; almost all of what we see is dialogueare conversations, through which Churchill presents her characters' attitudes to themselves and the world in which they '"lived'". Indeed, this dialogue, which doesn't contribute to any real plot development, means that in Top Girls there is an abundance of storytelling but very little else. Although we could see Marlene's promotion as being something of a storya part of the plot, in reality it is just another part of the conversationsdoesn't contribute to any real development, and in fact happens before the play even begins. ...read more.


always men" which gives us the impression that to her all men are the same, from everything she says the audience gets the feeling that she feels she is superior to men and doesn't particularly like them despite her saying that she "needs" them. Thus, we see that Marlene doesn't really seem to have her own story appear in the play, she is more like one of the women in the first act telling her story to the audience through her conversations with others. Angie is the character who changes and acts, it is she who has a future before her and who seems to evolve. Thus, Angie seeappearms to be the protagonist of Top Girls in terms of her being the primary focus of the story, with Marlene being a secondary character. The fact that Angie doesn't appear in the first act could be used to argue that she cannot be the protagonist of the play. Indeed, how can the main character not appear in a whole act of a three-act play? However, what takes place in the first act has no relation to the other acts in terms of story and plot development. Indeed, the first act seems to be more of a prologue to the play than anything else; it introduces us to the context in which Caryl Churchill places her female characters and gives us something with which to contrast and compare the modern characters in her play. ...read more.


properly, and makes them concentrate more on the similarities and contrasts that exist between the women. To conclude, while Angie is the 'superficial' protagonist of Top Girls and all of the characters are protagonists in their own stories, we could consider that the real, almost symbolic protagonist of the play is simply women: they are the primary focus of all the stories in the play and all of the female characters have a symbolic value which adds to the ideas presented by Caryl Churchill.was to write a play about modern womenPerhaps, Top Girls is not just a way for Churchill to show her opinions on women and work but also a representation of life itself for which there is no true central character: each person is their own protagonist in their own story. Indeed, Top Girls is not a play about Angie or Marlene, it is a play about women. Story=relationship b/w M and A, representative of relationship b/w poorer, weaker women and stronger ones TG= 2 levels, 1st: stories, developped characters 2nd: representation of all women Although Angie appears less in the play (and not at all in the first act), she actually conforms to the first definition given of a protagonist better than Marlene as her intentions and ambitions are spoken of whereas Marlene's intentions are not. Indeed, Angie seems interested in her own future, telling Win she wants to work at the agency, and even Marlene talks about what will happen to her, saying she'll be a "packer in Tesco". ...read more.

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