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Character study of Shirley Valentine.

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Introduction

Character study of Shirley Valentine At the opening of the play we see Shirley Bradshaw, a typical middle aged housewife being taken for granted. She is treated as a domestic slave rather than a person. People assume that that she will do whatever they want her to do whenever and all they have to do is click their fingers. As a person Shirley feels isolated and alone, she has no one that she feels she can talk to properly. She has got all these feelings locked up inside that she can not let out because no one will listen. To show how desperate she is, she ends up talking to a wall in her kitchen: (E.g. I like a glass of wine when I'm doin' the cookin; - Don't I wall? Don't I like a glass of wine when I'm preparing the evening meal?) Shirley thinks she is worth nothing. When she looks in the mirror she sees the boring middle-aged Shirley Bradshaw. She has no self-confidence. She longs to be the old Shirley Valentine. The woman everyone wanted to be the girl at school that broke basically every rule, the person that went out and had fun with her friends. During the course of the play, we see in a series of flashbacks the various problems and feelings Shirley experiences. The first few flashbacks we see confirm what Shirley is feeling and how people take advantage of her. ...read more.

Middle

Millandra on the other hand is very highly strung. She doesn't like getting her hands dirty and always getting her own way. Millandra is used to being spoilt and is ill tempered. She is one of the people who takes advantage of Shirley most. We see this when Millandra sulkily returns home after a massive row with her flatmate Sharon-Louise. She expects Shirley to welcome her home with open arms and immediately starts to boss Shirley around: (E.g. I hat that Sharon-Louise. She's a mare. I don't know why I ever went to live with her in the first place. Mother - I've come back to live with you. Mother - will ya make me some cocoa an' toast - like you used to? I'm goin' to me room. Mother, you haven't put enough sugar in this cocoa. Will you go down and get us another spoon. Mother, do us a favour and bring the telly upstairs for us, will you?) Other people's attitudes change throughout the play. For example: Gillian: We see that at the beginning Gillian looks down upon Shirley. For Gillian Shirley will never be quite good enough to invite to a party. But when Gillian meets Shirley in Marks and Spencer's buying very sexy underwear Gillian's view changes. Shirley tells Gillian that she is going on holiday with 'her lover.' ...read more.

Conclusion

She doesn't understand that Shirley does not need her to have a good time. An example of this is when Costas turns up at Shirley's room to take her out on his boat. Jane's reply to Shirley is: (E.g. Shirley - what are you playing at?) When Shirley arrives in Greece she it mesmerised by the sheer beauty of the island. She falls in love with everything, the sound of the crashing waves, the hum of the birds and the change in culture, but she also feels regretful. She feels regretful al of her life she'd known there was something more, something more beautiful, peaceful, fun and exciting and all this time she's been stuck in England wasting away. She feels like it is too late for her to be happy, as though she has led such a little and pointless life as though she got given all this life and it's just gone unused. She knew inside her that there was more. She desperately wanted to get out of being Shirley Bradshaw, but couldn't. She wanted to be Shirley Valentine and now, when she finally got to where she could be Shirley Valentine it was all going to be snatched away when she returned home. Her two weeks of happiness would just disappear. I think that this is what persuaded her to stay. She realised that in Greece she could be her self, not the middle-aged housewife, or the friend that will do whatever you tell them to do, but the REAL Shirley Valentine! ...read more.

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