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The Caretaker - Does the audience see Davies as a social victim or social parasite?

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Introduction

The Caretaker Assignment 1: Does the audience see Davies as a social victim or social parasite? In this essay I will take the position that the audience see Davies as both a social victim and a social parasite. Firstly a definition of a social victim and a social parasite will be given. A social victim is an individual who is looked down upon by other members of society, vulnerable to blame and not accorded the same rights as others. Therefore this disenfranchised group of people do not experience the usual comforts and perks of society. A social parasite is someone who exists off the backs of others efforts and not their own. Davies is a social victim because of his low social standing as a vagrant. He is definitely at the bottom of the social hierarchy; perhaps he is there because others have trodden on him to climb higher themselves .It is not explained how, but what we do know is that because Davies is a social victim, to survive he also becomes a social parasite. Throughout the play Davies shows some strong traits to the audience of being a social victim. The audience's very first impression of Davies is that his appearance is one of a vagrant, "Davies wears a worn brown overcoat, shapeless trousers, a waistcoat, vest, no shirt, and sandals." ...read more.

Middle

The audience would be sympathetic towards Davies because he has no money, "You see, I got nothing for all that week's work I did last week." When Aston asks if the name "Mac Davies" is Welsh, Davies does not seem to want to give Aston a specific answer and appears to be evasive when asked where he was born. He makes out he does not understand what Aston means, "What do you mean?" he replies to the simple question. This links back to Davies not wanting to collect his papers in Sidcup. Davies either does not want Aston knowing his name as he has a dislike of bureaucracy, or he is too embarrassed and uncomfortable to disclose this information. This uncertainty reflects on Davies' personality. When Davies encounters Mick, Mick is definitely the more dominant character. Aston is not there to get him out of trouble this time. He is defenceless against Mick and Davies knows he cannot match Mick's strength and does not try. Davies is humiliated; Mick treats him roughly without care or respect. Davies has no idea what is happening and is fearful of Mick's violent behaviour. Davies acts just as an animal would react in these circumstances. ...read more.

Conclusion

When Aston tells Davies he loaned him some money the night before, Davies tries to make himself seem less of a parasite towards Aston by sounding sorry and pretending that he forgot, "Went clean out of my mind." Davies thanks him again for lending him the money to keep the air clear with Aston. As soon as Aston has left Davies alone in the room Davies starts looking around. The audience might feel uncomfortable with Davies' behaviour; it seems that he might be prying or perhaps he had the intention of stealing from Aston. He noticeably does not want Aston to see him looking around in this way; this is shown because Davies opens the door to see if Aston is gone, and then closes before looking around. It could be considered that Davies does this because he would not want Aston to think he is taking advantage of him. Davies is inquisitive. He picks up some random items of Aston's, comments on them, and puts them back. To the audience, Davies is so interested in Aston's things because he wants to see what Aston is worth. If Aston had little, there would be less point in staying, as there would nothing to gain from Davies' perspective. To conclude, there are many episodes within the first act that reflect both Davies' victimisation and his opportunism, thus enabling the audience to view him as social victim and social parasite. 1 ...read more.

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