Restaurant Scene In Top Girls Essay

1493 words - 6 pages

Restaurant Scene in Top Girls

The restaurant scene in Top Girls (TG) revolves around Marlene
celebrating her promotion at work, it is purely female gendered,
having no male actors present throughout the whole play. The
significance of the five guests she has chosen to celebrate with
promotes the hard work and sacrifices she has made in order to get
where she is. This scene uses women of the past, to highlight
struggles of women through the ages, encompassing the theme of women’s
experiences and women at work, with motherhood being an important
factor for most of them. They have all had to fight one way or
another, in order to succeed in their lives. The focus is on Marlene
as the central character, not only because she is the hostess and it
is essentially her celebration, but because she connects with the
other women and encourages them to carry on with their stories.
Although these characters are created by the author, their stories are
very real and are used to portray the kind of person Marlene is, in
fighting for what she wants in the contemporary male dominated world
of business. The five women all have horrific stories to tell of
hardship and oppression, caused by male dominance. Isabella Bird
‘tried to please her father by conforming to the ‘role’ of clergyman’s
daughter’. Even when she was ill she fought for what she wanted and
eventually travelled and was the ‘first European woman ever to see the
Emperor’ in Morocco. (p.viii TG). Lady Nijo, at the age of 14 endured
rape and domination by the Emperor, but put up with it, as ‘it was
what she had been brought up for’. But when no longer in his favour,
she became a nun and ‘travelled the country on foot – she walked every
day for twenty years’ (p.iv TG). Dull Gret, having ‘lost her eldest
son and her baby, killed by soldiers’ and ‘waving a sword, led her
women, running and fighting and ‘gave the devils a beating’ (p. ix
TG). Pope Joan ‘left home at the age of twelve, dressed as a boy’
because ‘being female, she was denied access to the library’. She
eventually became Pope and would have remained so had it not been for
getting pregnant. ‘Here she was finally exposed as a woman and ‘women,
children and lunatics can’t be Pope’ (p.xi TG). She and her baby were
killed. Lastly, Griselda enters the scene, telling her story of how
she was forced into marriage at 15 by the ruling Marquis. How he took
her children away from her because ‘the people were getting restless
because of her privileged marriage’ (p.xii TG). Ironically her story
ended with her husband taking another bride, who turned out to be her
daughter, accompanied by her son.

While these women are telling their stories, Marlene plies them with
drinks but doesn’t tell her story at all. Instead, she encourages them
to tell theirs and acknowledges their extraordinary lives. She almost
separates herself from these women by not having a bizarre story to
tell. When Joan says ‘Have we all got dead...

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