Our Country's Good

The Presentation of Women in Our Country’s Good 12th Grade

In 1787, women were marginalized members of society, an underclass not able to enjoy the same liberties as men. Combined with some of the abject poverty plaguing England at the time, the result is some of the female characterization in Our Country’s Good. The representation of these women criminals, as well as the other women, is telling of the characters' beliefs and the situation that determines their lives.

The most striking aspect that dominates the presentation of women is their role sexually. We can plainly see the men’s views of women from the men's dialogue. John Wisehammer exclaims; “at night what is there to do but seek English cunt. Warm, moist, soft, o the comfort of the lick”. This fixation on the woman’s vagina is an objectifying sexualization of women, presenting them as none other than sex objects to the male need. While a 20th/21st century reader knows better than to reduce women down to their “crannies and crooks”, a statement such as this displays how women are seen in 1787, and should be in the back of the mind of the reader when evaluating men’s actions towards women in the play. Wertenbaker’s decision to include this sexist exposition at the very start of the play is used to shock audiences, and sets a...

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