Top Girls

What are the different views of Thatcherite Britain presented in 'Top Girls'?

Joyce's opinion, Marlene's stance, Howard's heart attack?

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Churchill is confronting ideas of feminism, the contradictions of which are embodied in Thatcher. While Thatcher is admirable as a woman who has risen to power, she has done so by embracing the patriarchal cruelties that she might otherwise have opposed as a woman. Perhaps, the play posits, women could rise in power and bring a change to the ways of the world, rather than compromising their nature to fit in and succeed. Howard has a heart attack after being passed over for a woman. It is unthinkable for him, and Marlene shows no sympathy when Howard's wife comes to beg work. Marlene has had to adopt a cruel attitude in order to succeed, a selfishness in imitation of her dinner guests in Act I, a cruelty that led her to give up her child and still treat Joyce meanly despite Joyce's sacrifice for Angie. Joyce posits a better way of living, one where we owe something to each other, and can treat one another better. But Marlene is incapable of hearing this. These characters help illustrate the complications of feminist success that were particularly embodied in Margaret Thatcher's rise.