Thalia's Daughters

A weblog for English 6365: Women Onstage in the Long Eighteenth Century, at UNB.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Joanna Baillie

If you missed it last week in class, or on Kari's blog, she intends to focus her discussion on The Tryal; a good idea, I think.

Here are a couple of things that strike me about the play:

This is the second comedy we've read (the first was Cowley's The Belle's Stratagem in which the witty heroine asks and receives her guardian's permission for her machinations. How can we interpret this shift from the parent-less scenarios of earlier plays? Kari and Brenna suggest that the treatment of the parental figures is affirmative; is it also, in any sense, conservative?

Agnes pretends to be poor in order to find a man who is interested in her for herself. But why does she up the ante and pretend to be so bad-tempered? Any thoughts about the ethics of the women's subterfuge, in general?

Duthie's intro. discusses Baillie's privileging of "the natural" over "the situational." Is this true of The Tryal?

How does this play relate to the overarching theme of marriage we have been tracing throughout?

How do these characters relate to notions of community? Is the resolution as normative as those we have seen elsewhere?

Are these plays, as Baillie's detractors claim, unstagable?


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