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January 29, 2022, 05:31:02 am

Author Topic: New here, Cosi essay please help  (Read 1327 times)  Share 

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New here, Cosi essay please help
« on: August 26, 2013, 07:51:48 pm »
I am studying year 12 at the moment and I gave this piece in to my teacher but she wouldn't accept it. She also didn't tell me what was wrong and I'm horrible at writing essays XS please help

In a mad world it is hard to define who is sane. How is this evident through the characters?
In Lous Nowra's 'Cosi', the protagonist, Lewis, takes on the role of directing an opera with patients in a mental asylum. Through these patients and other characters within the play, it is evident that in a mad world it is hard to define who is sane. This concept is portrayed with characters such as Julie and Doug, through their extremely contrasting mental 'illnesses'. In 'Cosi' Lous Nowra mocks the irony of societies assessment of what is sane by comparing the patients mental stability to the treatment of the patients. Furthermore, their past is the reason they have been diagnosed with their mental illness, along with societies fear towards these people are the reason they are in the asylum.

The patients various  conditions, ranging from Julie simply being a drug addict to Doug's pyromania exemplifies how society defines madness. Doug is a more severe example of mental illness. He is admitted to the asylum because of his inability to understand that his way of getting his mothers attention was wrong. As Doug explains his story “If it wasn’t for that darn cat, I wouldn’t be in here” we learn that his motives were not intended to cause harm, but to get attention from his mother, it was just his approach to solving this and his understanding was 'mad'. Julie  and her drug addiction is not actually a mental illness, but a desire. Whilst Doug is in the asylum for a true mental illness, Julie is only in there as society and her parents saw her drug addiction as a 'threat' This shows us that societies assessment of what is normal is fickle. Nowra mocks this concept along with the irony of the refusal of proper treatment for the patients.

The definition of madness in the play 'Cosi' is subjective. Nowra reveals the more barbaric techniques employed by doctors in treatment of patients. The use of shock therapy, mesmar magnets and tools to poke and prod at the brain and more, never actually led to a cure. This brings up the question of 'who is sane'.
“The mesmar magnet never helped anyone. It was a fraud” The prop used in shock treatment was an example of madness in the outside world. When Roy shows his impression, he begins to convulse ‘as if real shocks are being sent through him’ , it shows that the patients are fully aware of the severity and failure of the treatment. Even though the doctors and people outside the asylum don't see it, they don't take into account the patients past. This may contribute to their reasoning behind being admitted into the asylum in the first place.

The patients past is the reason they have been diagnosed with their mental illness. Due to Lewis's experience with his grandmother being in a mental asylum, he learns to take the patients past into account and that there was still real person behind their illness “I knew she had gone mad, but she was still my grandmother”. He ends up coming to the realisation that most of these patients are, in fact, “normal peoples who have done extraordinary things, thought extraordinary thoughts”.  If Roy's past had been different, he would not have been bi-polar and would not have to hide behind the illusion of a great past and a stable family as Lewis was taken aback by his tales of music and opera. Due to his unstable past in orphanages and negligence his illness was brought about. Henry was once a successful lawyer but his past has caused him to develop an inability to trust women. Before he was in the asylum, Henry would have been classified fully sane as he was a lawyer and was married. These are just few of the examples that show how significant a persons past can affect their behaviour.

In conclusion, the play 'Cosi' suggests that the real definition of sanity has been shaped and moulded to suit the one society has created. This view is one-sided in context of the patients treatment and the lack of knowledge behind the patients cases and unwillingness to go deeper into their lives.