Literary analysis: absent friends

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Literary analysis: Absent friends


Place and time: England – 3 p.m. Saturday.

External structure: Two acts.

Author biography: As an acclaimed director, he has worked extensively in the West End and has also run his own company at the National Theatre. Between 1972 and 2009, he was the Artistic Director of the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, where the majority of his work has andcontinues to be premiered.

Character Analysis:

Paul: is the husband of Diana (for 12 years) in the play. His character is quite proud and he has many self-illusions about himself. He doesn't treat his wife well and always looks down on her making her feel bad and dumb. He has an affair with Evelyn and he doesn't even bother to make a good excuse to his wife, because he thinks that she is toodumb to realize that he doesn't like her and has love affairs with other women.

Diana: is Paul's wife (for 12 years) in the play. She has two children called Mark and Julie with Paul. She is a very over doing character who takes even the most intricate of details very importantly and is very talkative. She likes to socialise which is quite obvious as she set up the meeting in the first place.She is a very pessimistic person and always finds faults in herself. She loves Paul dearly but feels that she isn't good enough for him and says that she wouldn't mind if he had an affair with someone unless he told her about it. Diana's best friend in this play is Marge.

Barbara: Diana´s sister.

Harris: Doctor of Paul and Diana.

John: is the husband of Evelyn. He is vey mean, always tryingto get cheap things. He is a salesman and seems to be really confortable with his life. He says the key of succes is having a quiet and miserable wife like Evelyn, because in that way they can live without quarreling. Overall, he seems to be very sympathetic and understand his friends in need.

Evelyn: is John´s wife which whom she has a baby of four months called Wayne. She is very miserableand does not have sense of humour. She has an affair with Paul, but says it was a disagreeable experience. She has a notable lack of interest on everything that happens, even when everyone realises she has had an affair.

Gordon: “Jumjums” is the husband of Marge. He does not talk in the play, but comunicates with Marge by phone. He was a fire prevention officer and a great left-arm bowleruntil the day he wrecked his shoulder. From that day on, he got fat, big, shy, become a moaner and dependent of his wife.

Colin: is the widower of Carol. He is a banker, very self-confident. He sees himself like a very gifted man capable of knowing everything about the people he meets. He is very optimistic about his present and future, and remembers the past with joy.

Carol: is the deadfiancée of Colin. She was cheerful and very much in love with Colin. She drowned two months before.

Genre: Play – comedy.

Plot: Diana has organised a tea party for Colin, an old friend of her husband Paul. Colin’s fiancée has recently drowned and the aim is to cheer him up with a reunion of his old friends Paul, John and Gordon.

Gordon is, typically, ill and his wife Marge turns up instead,while Paul and John are less than enthusiastic about the party.

All this hides deep problems: Paul has had a brief affair with John’s wife Evelyn – who has brought her baby to the party; Marge is desperate for a child of her own and has transferred her maternal instincts on to an increasingly dependent and accident-prone Gordon; Diana is desperately unhappy, misses her children who are at boardingschool and is bullied by Paul – who she suspects of having a major affair with Evelyn.

John is aware of Evelyn’s affair, but is dependent on Paul for employment. Both John and Paul are so uncomfortable with the idea of meeting Colin that they play down their friendship to the point of almost non-existence.
 
The majority of this emerges before Colin has even arrived and just as matters...
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