The bog of cats portrays a compelling unkindness of humankind and the huge difference between the poor and rich. The play is based on a story from Ireland focusing on political ideology and responsible interpersonal relationships. However, the play emphasis is on folklore, magic, and legend. It expounds on the effects of an individual despised by the society. The play uses both reality and imagination to bring forward the theme. The main character in the play, Hester Swane, is going through a difficult life of rejection, abandonment, and torture (Carr, 2002). The people who love and care about Hester, including her mum and husband to be, reject her. The entire play is characterized by tension and drama created by the use of reality and imagination. Hester is considered a supernatural being and whatever she says is regarded true.
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The woman has courage and determination to obtain what is hers, including her house, her daughter, and her caravan. Hester is left by her mother at the age of seven, thereby, creating tension of wanting to know what finally happens to her. Hester spends most of her time wishing that her mother’s spirit would bring her some answers. The Catwoman represents the spirit of her mother. This shrinks the difference between the reality and imagination in the play.
The society is divided between the rich and the poor, and people are influenced by wealth when making decisions. This is shown when the long time lover of Hester leaves her to marry the daughter of Xavier on promise of wealth. This is despite having a seven-year-old daughter with Hester. This shows how the society lacks morals and is driven by materialism. The society is divided between the rich and the poor, as in this play. Hester is lonely and abandoned because she has no money and no one to turn to. This reality is mixed up with the presence of the irrational image of the Catwoman who is the only person she turns to (Carr, 2002). The Ghost Fancier appears at the beginning of the play to predict the death of Hester. This is important in the play, as it creates suspense concerning how Hester will die. This also creates tension in the story and acts as a buildup to the tragedy. The collaboration of both supernatural powers and reality, as well as the themes of prophesy and fate, constitutes the originality of the play. The play uses females as strong characters, which is unusual in many contemporary plays.
The display of men as uncertain and immoral develops the plot of the story. This is evident when Carthage agrees to get married on promise of wealth despite having a child with Hester. He cannot get over his ex-wife, and this shows how men are fragile and uncertain (Highbeam Research, 2012). His departure further develops the story when Josie Kilbride opts to follow him and leave her mother. This causes her mother much fury and leads to Josie Kilbride’s death. Carr uses drama to bring out the theme of revenge, abandonment, and torture. Hester is abandoned because she is poor and lives within a society of rich people who cannot allow her have what she deserves.
The story by Carr is set in a dramatic world, which is literally wedged between realism and fantasy. Hester can communicate with supernatural powers in the play. The opening of the play showing Hester dragging a dead body and leaving a trail of blood behind sets the pace of the story (Highbeam Research, 2012). She is encountered by a ghostly, which warns her of an approaching death. This already creates tension, which is escalated by the fact that Hester is in a desperate situation, as it is clear later in the story. Carthage is marrying Caroline and leaving Hester despite having a kid, Josie. Hester has already signed away the rights of her land and social pressure is building. The love of their daughter Josie cannot stop the desperation that Hester is experiencing. The story becomes more interesting and factual by the presence of the daughter. She is depicted as a very mature person determined to love both her parents and keep them together. However, she is disappointed at the end when the relationship stumbles towards the end of the play.
Religion does not play a great part in the play, as Christianity is downplayed to a point where it appears comical. It is deemed almost insignificant in the play. Fr Willow, the only character of religion in the play, is portrayed as more comical and absurd instead of serious and realistic. This depicted as Willow forgets the prayer, the Grace. This is contrary to Medea, the actual story where is based. This also heightens tension and suspense in the story. The play diverts toward pagan at the end when Hester pours wine as a sign of libation. This is common in Greek religious practices, and it is done as an offer to the ancestors. The appearance of Ghost Fancier shows how the dead are communicating with the living. This is a recipe for tragedy in the play. The supernatural beings forecast the death of people in the play, and this leads to tragedy (Kader, 2005). Hester is haunted by memories of her mother Big Josie. This is achieved through the fragment stories she is told by Catwoman about her mother. It helps to show how the presence of the supernatural and irrational images contributes towards the tragedy in the play. The tragedy, which is the death of Hester, is influenced by irrational beings, as well as her social pressures and suffering. Hester cannot withstand the pressures and disappointments, hence commits suicide. This indicates there is no big gap between the real and the surreal. Considering that Hester had supernatural powers, one would expect her not to die.
The male characters in the play are depicted as narrow-minded and greedy. They are depicted as people who are vicious even in their decision-making about various matters in life. Carthage is portrayed as a greedy, weak, and unfaithful man. He accepts to marry Xavier’s daughter on promise of wealth. He is weak and unfaithful because he departs from Hester and marries someone else. Xavier is also depicted as aggressive and greedy, whereas Willow is depicted as ridiculous. The male characters are depicted as inferior to women. This helps to create more curiosity and suspense in the story. Caroline, who is married to Carthage, turns back to Hester towards the end of the story to comfort her and offer her support. She tells Hester “I won’t let him, Ill talk to him, Ill stand up for ya on that account...I promise ya Ill do everything I can about Josie” (Carr, 2002, p. 336-7). This is contrary to the fact that males are always depicted as stronger characters in many contemporary plays. The aggressive and greedy nature of males in the play is an aspect which creates tension in the book. Men are depicted as lovers of wealth above all other things. Men are depicted as evil in the play, and women given the upper hand. Carthage had always hidden his desire for wealth, but his relationship with Caroline exposes it.
The style and technique which Carr uses in the entire story has helped to bring out the composition of the society and the discrepancies which occur. The society is divided by two, the rich and the poor. One class of people is lonely, tortured, oppressed, and rejected, whereas the other appears superior. The influence of some supernatural powers in the activities of the living is also depicted in the play. It appears that these irrational creatures, represented by the Catwoman, assist in the fulfillment of prophesy. Hester is considered a powerful creature with supernatural powers and always talking the truth. The play appears to bring a new social order in the society where everybody obtains what he or she deserves. Hester has spent all her life waiting for the return of her mother, which the audience knows that she will never return. Hester is waiting for a moment, which will never happen. This desire of wanting to wait creates tension in the play.
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