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Throughout both Top Girls and The Beauty Queen of Leenane McDonagh and Churchill present parent child relationships as being destructive; a demise caused by deceit.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the presentations of relationships between parents and children in Top Girls and other drama texts you have read about the struggle for identity in modern literature. How far do you agree with the idea that such relationships are destructive? Throughout both Top Girls and The Beauty Queen of Leenane McDonagh and Churchill present parent child relationships as being destructive; a demise caused by deceit. During Top Girls, Angie's discovery of the identity of her true biological mother, Marlene, results in a destructive relationship with her adoptive mother, Joyce. This theme is exaggerated further in The Beauty Queen of Leenane where Mag's duplicitous relationship with Maureen sees her desire for control result in the act of matricide. The most obvious cause of destruction in the relationships is deceit. In The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Mag hides Pato's letter from Maureen causing her relationship with him to fail. Maureen discovers her mother's dishonesty when Mag accidentally reveals her knowledge of the situation resulting in her admittance that "[she] did burn it!" This revelation causes the destructive emotion of anger in Maureen and is the end to her relationship with Mag. Similarly, in Top Girls, Angie is lied to about the circumstances of her birth. ...read more.

Middle

Despite Pato seeing "no shame in that at all", McDonagh uses stage directions to suggest that Mag is embarrassed as she talks "quietly". Due to both daughters being isolated, the feeling of humiliation is heightened and causes long lasting destruction in the form of low self esteem. In Top Girls, Angie has no job, and according to Joyce is "not going to get a job, when jobs are hard to get". Her decision to leave school means she no longer has a reason to leave the house, and will not meet any new people. In The Beauty Queen of Leenane, Maureen is trapped with her mother and similarly has no job or many friends. Mag tells her "you don't say hello to people is your trouble" suggesting that she is a reserved character. Again this would mean that the humiliation regarding Pato would be focused on by her as her first and only love interest. Both daughters also appear to be subject to disapproval from their mothers. Both playwrights use dress to illustrate this. In Top Girls, Angie receives a dress from her birth mother, Marlene. Throughout the scene Joyce does not compliment Angie or the dress and merely tells her to "Go to [her] room then, [as they] don't want a strip show." ...read more.

Conclusion

and starts slowly pouring some of the hot oil over it". Maureen is established as a violent character who continues to torture her mother whilst she "screams in pain and terror". This use of "in yer face" theatre allows McDonagh to shock the audience. The brutality peaks as it is revealed that Maureen has killed Mag when "she finally topples over and falls heavily to the floor, dead." This violence is particularly disturbing as Maureen appears to show no guilt or remorse for her actions as she "looks down at [Mag], somewhat bored ... then steps onto her back" as she leaves the room. This physical act represents Maureen's feeling of triumph over her dead mother, as she feels that through the murder of her mother the destructive cycle has ended. In conclusion, both playwrights convey destruction within the parent child relationships. This destruction is caused by deceit and manipulation initiated by the parents but further adopted by the daughters, often to more violent ends. During both plays, this cycle is portrayed as vicious and continuous. In Top Girls the chronological end to the play provides none of the characters with happiness or liberty. Similarly in The Beauty Queen of Leenane, although Maureen believes she is free from her mother, it is apparent to the audience that instead she has simply become her mother. ?? ?? ?? ?? Page 1 of 5 ...read more.

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