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Spring and Port Wine

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English Coursework-post 1914 drama Tina Ross 10LK 6257 To what extent is Rafe viewed as a sympathetic character in 'Spring and Port Wine' by Bill Naughton? Love him or hate him, Rafe in 'Spring and Port wine' by Bill Naughton has evoked stong feelings for all who have viewed the play. 'Spring and Port Wine' is set in a working class area in Bolton, Lancashire.There is no denying that Rafe,as the lord of the household, runs a tight ship: almost to the point of outright controlling his wife, Daisy, and their four children Florence, Harold, Hilda and Wilfred. As their children have grown up, there have been tensions among the children, particularly Harold and Hilda. It all culminates one evening when Hilda refuses to eat her dinner.... The dictionary defines being sympathetic as '(of characters in literature or drama) evoking empathic or sympathetic feelings' Rafe is often portrayed and described as an uncaring fellow, especially when we first meet Rafe in the opening scene of the play. In this scene he walks into the house and his first action is to turn off the television and say to his two sons: 'I don't need livening up. ...read more.


However, Rafe shows he has a caring side on a number of occasions. One of the most significant(and the first in the play) occurs near the end. It comes when when Daisy, after pawning Rafe's new overcoat to raise money for her daughter Hilda's escape fund, feels guilty and confesses all to Rafe. Instead of getting angry, as the audience(and the rafe-haters) might expect , Rafe instead comforts her and says in response to her guilty, worried and anxious face: 'Surely you can tell me anything?' This tells us that Rafe genuinely loves and cares for his family and wants them to be able to turn to him. This is at odds with the Rafe-hater's image of him as the domineering and controlling autocratic head of the family.Also at odds with this image of Rafe is the quote 'all I care about - all I've ever cared about - is you and our four children' This again shows that Rafe genuinely cares about his family and how much they mean to him. Another example of Rafe showing his love for another member of the family is this quote: 'Something's been worrying me about our dear Hilda' This shows that not only does Rafe have the capacity to notice that something is wrong with his youngest daughter, but that he cares enough to let it worry him. ...read more.


It also shows us the attitude to which Florence and Daisy have towards Rafe:show him what he wants to see. In the end scenes we see that is borne out of her love for Rafe and because it would disappoint Daisy to see Rafe disappointed. However, Rafe doesn't seem to have the same cionsideration for daisy. A good example of this is Rafe's flannel shirt. Rafe said it was very good to wear and of high quality.However, he didn't realise that it was hard to wash and when he learned of the trouble Daisy had in washing it, he didn't seem to care.Another incidence of Rafe not having any consideration for Daisy was his new (and very expensive) overcoat.It says a lot about the state of communication between rafe and the rest of the family that nobody knew that rafe was ordering a new overcoat, or where he was durinbg the numerous fittings that were required for the making of the coat. In conclusion, I believe that although I feel sympathy and empathy for Rafe, and know many others who feel the the same regarding him,I also know many others who feel the exact opposite. This is probably because most people base their opinion on Rafe on another older male in their life. ...read more.

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