28 March 2017
Expressionism in Machinal and The Rover
Machinal and The Rover are remarkable works of literature. Sophie Treadwell and Aphra Behn pushed the social boundaries within their plays during the times they were written. Both authors show their opinions on how their cultures viewed women through two important characters in the plays, Helen Jones and Florinda. Helen Jones is a young woman from Machinal and Florinda is a Spanish noblewoman from The Rover. In each play, there are many similarities regarding the issues of women in society; the weight of social norms, what people expect of women, and being forced or pressured into unwanted wedlock. They showed audiences around the world what women were facing and addressed these issues by expressionism. Though these two plays are centuries apart, they have many similarities with each social issue.
Marriage is a prominent theme in both Machinal and The Rover. Women are marriage objects in both plays, even though they are set in different time periods, the theme is still similar. In The Rover, the main female protagonist is a woman named Florinda. Throughout the play, she deals with the pressure to marry a man by the name of Don Vincentio. Vincentio is not a young man, though his exact age is not specified, it is assumed that he is much older than Florinda. The only reason that Florinda is to be wed to Vincentio is because of the man’s wealth, not out of love. The subject of love comes up a great deal in both plays, and in Machinal it is more prominent of an issue. From beginning to end, Helen is tormented by her decision to marry George H. Jones, whom is a wealthy man, but is also a great deal older than Helen. The women in both Machinal and The Rover have similar situations with love and marriage, unfortunately the social norms of both times weighed down on them and forced them to act in unconventional ways.
Helen Jones and Florinda are both strong willed characters in the beginning of their plays, but throughout Machinal and The Rover, their paths separate and they are affected by the strain of their societies social standard in drastically separate ways. Sophie Treadwell, the author of Machinal, puts Helen in a position of despair when she has no choice to marry George H....