How does Williamson show the use and abuse of power in “The Club”? Essay
David Williamson exposes the use and abuse of power in his play The Club, which offers “a look at the power behind the big men of the sporting world”. Through the use of dramatic and language techniques such as dramatic irony, mise en scene and simile. Williamson suggest that manipulation of power can destroy friendships, organisations and affects one’s passion. In particular the abuse of power is shown to backfire on Jock, Gerry and Ted this suggest that individuals and groups should not abuse their power but instead follows Laurie’s example and use power selflessly.
The committee members’ passion for the game leads them to use and abuse their power to form an ideal team to win the premiership, however their actions go against the club’s values and negatively affect the club. Ted’s passion for the game is displayed by the line, “I’ve seen every game we’ve played since I was six”, and his detailed description of Laurie’s first kick with jargon like ‘long low pass’ and ‘blind turn’, which reveal his commitment towards the sport and the club. However, as the president, Ted only cares about winning and loses sight of the team. This is shown when Geoff Hayward is purchased without consulting Laurie (the coach) and the team members. Ted’s abuse of power is emphasised by Laurie’s angry tone when he is criticising Ted for trying to tell him how to coach, and by his dismissal in the line “I don’t appreciate interference from amateurs”, which connotes Ted’s status as a newcomer trying to run the club. Although Ted is motivated by his passion for the game, his abuse of power to show authority over the team makes the club suffer.
In the text, Williamson shows factionalism through the portrayal of characters working against each other and manipulating one another. Jock and Gerry’s abuse of power is displayed with dramatic irony as they are shown to be plotting behind the player backs and scheming for Ted and Laurie to get fired. Gerry says to Laurie that he wants Ted out “as much as you do”, appearing sympathetic, but the audience also sees Gerry talking to Ted about how they are going to force Laurie to resign after the season. Gerry uses and abuses his power to get the ideal team that he and Jock want. Also, Jock’s abuse of power is evident by Laurie’s accusation that Jock only supported the committee’s traditional approach to recruiting players to stop Laurie from succeeding, claiming that “the reason why you wouldn’t let the club buy players was to stop me winning a flag.” Williamson uses diction and tone to bring out Jock’s scheming and manipulation toward Laurie so he can achieve and accomplish his own hidden agenda, which is to undermine Laurie.
Laurie’s selfless acts upon others show how moral he is, and show his loyalty to the club, he shows that he doesn’t abuse his power and uses his power selflessly. This is shown through the use of language of disagreement, where Laurie tries to defend Danny’s position when “Danny was getting thrashed. I thought you mightn’t have noticed”, a quote from Ted which emphasises how badly ‘thrashed’ Danny was. Because of this, Ted wanted to ‘shift him’ but Laurie disagreed with the fact that anyone on the team besides Danny could take Wilson (one of the best footballer). This shows Laurie’s morality in terms of how he thinks of others, that he knows that Danny ‘was desperate to keep on trying’. This shows Laurie’s human aspect and therefore shows his loyalty to the club. Another abuse of power to be measured is Jock’s human aspect. Jock is loyal to the club, but is based on selfish and violent acts; he wants everything to be good for him, so that his name can be on top of the club. He is also a non-secretive person, and because of this, he shows that he doesn’t care what he does, and therefore emphasises he only cares for himself and is self-motivated.
In the play, The Club displays how characters take advantage of their status with their power of being talent. This is shown when the club receives a new player from Tasmania, which also changes the traditions of having their “local boys” playing for the game. Williamson exposes how players such as Geoff Hayward take advantage of their power and use their power to receive a better income and take advantage of the club. Geoff Hayward abuses his power also on Jock by telling his problems, however Geoff is lying to Jock and Jock believes everything in what he is saying. This is seen with the line delivery, and tone of “ I get the feeling that something is worrying you Geoff”, in my own interpretation jock is gesturing to Geoff in a way that offers to help by listening, but jokes facial expression would be that he thinks he is better for suspecting something is wrong. Geoff uses his power to abuse jock by fooling him in to a trick and making him believe in the unthinkable.
In conclusion David Williamson highlights how the abuse of power that can take away one’s passion for the game, and loose in what they stood for like ted. Also that people use their power to gain respect and only use it for their own motives such as Jock and Gerry as they just wanted their ideal team. However, like Laurie he uses his power selfless and liked to use his power for what they believe is right. The Club explores how power can be used positively and negatively and the message behind it is to show the corruption behind the sporting world.
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