Caryl Churchill’s “Top girls”

Table of Content

In these days, there are many women who play important role in society and it has been increasing since modern civilization has been formed. Many of literary works express the social aspect. Many plays are like a mirror of society because playwrights consider the ambience of society and put their thoughts and values into the plays.

Many of male playwrights have mostly dominated the last century and the star role-played by males. However from the end of the 60’s, women started to slowly do their own playwrights and perform their own plays. Their goal was to bring women and their experiences out of the domestic sphere and into the social one.Caryl churchill is one of the playwrights who was trying to write about women’s value through the play.

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‘Top girls’ is one of her plays and it describes the social aspect of women at that time by using some character’s staric line and situations. The other play which is comparable with “top girls” is “Hedda Gabler”. They are both written in different time period so it is different how the characters act out to a certain situation. Both playwrights tried to support women’s social status by making complex characters within a different time, and circumstances.

Caryl churchill’s “Top girls” is the play which has only women characters througout the play. There is no man except Howard who got dissapointed about Marlenen’s promotion, but he does not appear in the play. His wife appears and blaimes about Marlene’s promotion which is about her husband cannot work under a woman’s control. “Top girls” was written in 1982, and it is about women’s story.

Marlene is the center character and there are many women characters around her. Marlene’s friends all talk about theirselves, and they all have many kinds of stories.Many kinds of stories make this play better. Caryl churchill used various kinds of women characters to make people change their stereotypical point of view which is that women are just house wives who just clean and bare children.

There is Joan who says that she never obeyed anyone, any man, and there is Griselda who has been a very obedient wife. They can be compared very distinctively. Also, there is Nijo who has always been second wife and there is Win who has an affair. Two characters were played by same person and they have similarities that they are both someone’s second.

Caryl churchill used double role in this play, so characters were easily compared. Matched characters have some simularities. Also, “Top girls” satirize the women’s aspect at that time. In the play a naive young girl enters a jobs agency, where she expects to be given the job that she desinges for herself.

” I’d like a job where I was here in London and with him and everything but now and then-I expect it’s silly. Are there jobs like that? ” (Churchill)1614 Jeanne believes that she can have the job she wants on the money she wants, regardless of her lack of qualificatioins and rightness for the job. Marlene and her taff advise employees to mute their feminine roles to be one of Top girls. Churchill is trying to say that muting feminine roles is neccessary to get on top.

Henrik Ibsen’s “Hedda Gabler” was written in 1890. Since it is written in different time period, women’s role in the play is different from “Top girls”. Hedda gabler is general’s daughter, she has storng power over other characters and it impacts the whole story. Hedda is a woman who is very hurtful and dominating women, able to coax her husband into fulfilling her every whim and to persuade her surrounding characters to act agains their will.

She uses what she knows of the relationship of trust between Lovborg and Thea and destroys this trust, which causes Lovborg to break down and succumb to the drink again. She destroyes Lovborg and Thea’s work and Lovborg kills himself later. Thea is the character who is very true to herself but she has no power in society. It is not common that woman leaves her husband in 1900’s.

In this play, Thea leaves her husband and be a main player to make Lovborg to complete his work. Hedda does not have that ability, she does not like the fact that she cannot design her man’s destiny so she uses another kind of power.She burns the manuscripts of Elirt Lovbog and Thea, and it is the only power that she can use within her ability. Suicide exists as the final option for Hedda to exhibit control and dominance over herself and the characters in the play.

Lovborg’s death, which grants Brack with the ability to blackmail Hedda and allows Tesman and Thea to begin a seemingly close and long relationship, deems Hedda useless within her social group. She is married to Tesman, but she will never belong to anybody and she is not anybody’s anything, which is why she kills herself.She does not want her fate controlled by a child, because the child will seal the union between her and Tesman permanently. She then transfers her behavior to her environment, inwards, towards herself, making her last act of control her own life.

Ibsen shows the women’s aspects at that time and Hedda is not the type of character who just bare a child and depends on husband. She wants to controll her own life, but it does not work out good so destroyes everything, even herself.Two plays were written in different time but both playwrights described different type of women characters and showed how they think, how they act to get what they want, and what they need. “Top girls” and “Hedda Gabler ” both shows that complex human characters and this makes the story more real.

When it feels more real to people, while they are reading these plays, they tend to think about women’s roles in the society, women’s thoguhts, and women’s status. These kinds of literary works have a strong power, they can change people’s point of view, thoughts and furthermore, even the world.

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Caryl Churchill’s “Top girls”. (2017, Dec 01). Retrieved from

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