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Dead White Males the play by Australian playwright David Williamson deals with several conflicts which occur between the characters Whether they concern patriarchy and feminism or intellectualism and anti-intellectualism these opposing ideas each spawn from the plays chief conflict between liberal humanism and post-structuralism In the beginning the plays main character Angela Judd finds herself somewhere amidst the two During the course of the play she and the audience are presented with supporters of each ideology and finally led to prefer one above the other The ideologies are represented through the actual characters in the play and by the use of excerpts from some of Shakespeares famous plays The two opposing ideologies in Dead White Males are liberal humanism and post-structuralism Liberal humanism upholds the idea that men and womens behaviour are steered by an all-embracing human nature Permanent truths concerning human nature do exist it is not socially constructed People are not constrained by ideologies and are free to be individuals On the other hand post-structuralism promotes its belief that in the world there is no reality only manufactured reality constructed by words and no absolute truths Human behaviour is controlled by many ideologies that dominate society However gaps that exist within the systems directing society make it possible for people to break free and change The first scene wastes no time in establishing the conflict and introducing the major characters through which each ideology is represented William Shakespeare who appears as a figure of Angelas imagination is the plays liberal humanist Liberal humanism states that there is a set human nature which is exactly what Shakespeare believes to be true This fact is swiftly highlighted when Angela asks How is it that you know so much about us I page 1 It shows that Shakespeare is respected for his high intelligence and renowned for his great understanding in human behaviour and emotion Furthermore Shakespeare being the most famous person in the
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