How Athol Fugard Presents Personal And Political Conflict In The Opening Scene Of The Island

849 words - 3 pages

How Athol Fugard Presents Personal and Political Conflict in the Opening Scene of The Island

Athol fugard presents the opening scene in a number of ways. The play
is all about contrasts in personal and political conflict. The Island
was written by Fugard to show the situation between whites and blacks
in South Africa. When the play was first preformed it was more like a
political play, but audiences see it as based more on the human
spirit. After the apartheid had finished the play was more about how
people overcame pressure and stress. The play was written around the
1970's when there was Apartheid in South Africa. This meant that the
white people were in control of the black people. The black people
were treated as slaves and were said to be like animals, if the black
people were to disobey the rules then one of the punishments was to be
thrown into prison, which was where this play was set. These plays
were against the law, because they were a form of rebellion, so if the
actors and audience were caught they would be severely punished.

The setting and staging are presented in different ways to show the
isolation and confinement in the cell. Fugard does this by the centre
of the stage being raised to represent a cell on Robben Island. In the
cell everything is neat and tidy, blankets are all folded and this is
because mess would take up more room. The black prisoners are trying
to maintain standards and not act like animals even though they are
treated like them. There is 'a moat of harsh, white light'
representing a cell, from which they cannot escape. John and Winston,
who are the two characters in the cell, have been thrown together by
chance, but they have a common cause to hold them together. They are
on there own and have no possessions this causes dramatic confluence
and conflict due to the claustrophobic space.

John and Winston are two very different characters John being more
educated and spiritual whilst Winston is more practical and physically
stronger. They are living in constant fear of being beaten by Hodoshe,
which...

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