Women : the affirmative element in selected plays by Athol Fugard

Kulenkampff, Julia (2002-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The focus of this enquiry is Fugard's "Courage in the face of it all" which is the keystone to his idea of affirmation. The selected plays explore this defiance and refusal to surrender when confronted with despair that Fugard has invested in women. At the same time the plays portray the concept of Heroic Pessimism that is the deciding factor in affirmation. Athol Fugard acknowledges that his mother is the archetypal image for all his women characters. His writing reflects the decisive and sustaining role that his mother played in his life. Fugard's admiration and respect for her encouraged him to portray women with not only the dominant and affirmative voice, but with courage that is worthy of emulation. The plays chosen depict the growth of Fugard's idea of affirmation and illustrate the various ways in which the women arrive at their affirmation. Central to Fugard's concept of affirmation is the desire to celebrate the human spirit and its capacity to endure, forgive and love. By investing in women a sense of affirmation in the face of suffering and despair, Fugard is presenting his message of hope.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die fokus van die vraag is Fugard se "Courage in the face of it all" - wat die hoeksteen van sy idee van bekragtiging is. Die gekose dramas ondersoek die teenstand en weiering van vroue om moed op te gee as hulle met wanhoop gekonfronteer word. Terselfdertyd weerspieël die dramas die konsep van Heroïese Pessimisme wat die oorwegende faktor is in bekragtiging. Athol Fugard erken dat sy moeder die argetipiese beeltenis vir al sy vroue-karakters is. Sy skryfkuns reflekteer die bepalende en ondersteunende rol wat sy moeder in sy lewe gespeel het. Fugard se bewondering en respek vir haar het hom aangemoedig om vroue nie net die dominante en bekragtigende stem te gee nie, maar ook navolgenswaardige moedigheid. Die gekose dramas verteenwoordig die ontwikkeling van Fugard se idee van bekragtiging en illustreer die verskeie maniere hoe vroue bekragtiging bekom. Die begeerte om die menslike gees se uithouvermoë, vergewensgesindheid en liefde te vier, staan sentraal in Fugard se konsep van bekragtiging. Deur vroue in die aangesig van lyding en wanhoop te bekragtig, veroorsaak dat Fugard se werk 'n boodskap van hoop oordra.

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