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Love and Mental Health in Cosi by Louis Nowra Essay

Cosi is a play written by Louis Nowra. I will be using two speeches chosen from the play to explain how the playwright uses emotive language to show the characters thoughts, views and feelings about issues in the play. The two speeches I will be focusing on are; Act 2 Scene 2 This is a conversation between Lewis and Lucy about their views on love and Lucy’s infertility. And. Act 1 Scene 4 Which is a conversation between Lewis, Nick and Henry about the Vietnamese war. The themes I have chosen are love and mental health.

Love in Cosi is portrayed through the characters different views on the subject. Some believe that falling in love with a faithful partner is important; others think love is pointless and is only based on sexual relations rather than emotional connections. You can clearly see these differences in views when looking at the characters attitudes towards love in the play. The playwright has used speeches made by the characters infused with emotive language to portray these thoughts, feelings and views.

The main speech I am going to be focusing on is the one made by Lucy in Act 2 scene 2, about her infidelity and what she believes to be more important about love. This conversation between Lucy and Lewis shows both their opinions on love, and what it means to be in a relationship. “How to understand how capitalism exploits the working class is important. How to stop the war in Vietnam is important. How to make a piece of theatre meaningful; and intelligent…. is important. After bread, a shelter, equality, health, procreation, money comes maybe love.

Do you think the starving masses give a fuck about love. Love is an emotional indulgence for the privileged few. ” The emotive language that is used in this quote shows Lucy’s anger and frustration with Lewis for not thinking the same way she does. She doesn’t value love more than other people’s happiness and seems disappointed that Lewis does. She also believes that love is only valued by those who exploit the working class. The emotive language used such as starving masses; this may be used to make us feel sympathy for what she thinks is her cause.

The use of the word fuck is to show just how angry Lucy is. Also the way she constantly uses the word important shows that what she is talking about is something she feels strongly about. Lewis reply to her rant with one short, but meaningful quote. The way in which it is worded makes you feel that it is oozing with emotion. “Without love the world wouldn’t mean much” By using the words “the world wouldn’t mean much” its shows he would think the world and life would be less meaningful if people didn’t fall in love or believe in love.

He seems to believe that love can conquer all. Mental illness is another theme that Louis Nowra explores in Cosi, the way in which he does it leave us thinking who are actually the mad ones in this play the sane or the insane. I will be focusing on Act 1 Scene 4 the speech made by Henry about his father’s nobility in the Vietnam War. For someone who is classified mentally insane he has extremely coherent views about what he believes is right and wrong.

The emotive language used in this speech and the increase in henrys stutter shows the amount of anger he feels towards the subject and the betrayal he feels to find out that nick and Lewis support the Vietnamese in a war against their own country. [Banging chair on the floor] “Traitors! Traitors! Traitors! ” This action of banging the chair on the floor and the use of emotive language in the quote made is used to show henrys anger but the use of the word traitors could also be used to stir the same sense and feeling of anger in the reader. My ffffather fought in the war for you. For you and ffffor me. He was a ggggreat man. You are traitors” The increase of henrys stutter is also used to show the raging anger he feels about nick and Lewis supporting the Vietnamese. Also the use of the emotive language “for you and ffffor me” could be used to make us feel like he is speaking to us as well instead of this particular quote being directed only at the characters in the play. “….. I do not work with traitors.

Australia is at war against communists and you… you stab my father in the back” This quote is used to show henrys disappointment with nick and lewis for supporting the Vietnamese instead of their home, their country. Also to show the betrayal he feels on his father’s behalf for their support to the Vietnamese. Henry is the exact opposite to nick. Although nick is classified as sane his views on this subject seem to be quite insane. Nick doesn’t seem to be able to understand why henry feels hurt that he and Lewis are supporting the Vietnamese.

Henry: “you ssssupport the cccommunists” Nick: “yes” Henry: “in Vietnam? ” Nick: “sure” Henry “you give money to North Vietnam? ” Nick: “for medical supplies” Henry: “to the enemies? ” Nick: “yeh” You could say this is emotive language because although the answers he gives henry are short and swift. They hold the conviction that what he is saying is right. It is his belief that he needs to support the Vietnamese against Australia. “Not only are they nuts, but there right wing nuts” This quote give the feeling that nick feels that it’s wrong that their mentally insane but the fact that they are “right wing nuts” makes it a million times worse.

Although nick is meant to have this sympathetic left wing idealism, he doesn’t seem all that sympathetic towards henry and his views about the Vietnamese war. Emotive language in the play is used to stir emotions in the reader as well as help explain the characters feelings towards a situation. The playwright used emotive language to portray the characters thoughts, feeling and views. Not only about these subjects but also the fact that this play also leaves us to question who are actually the insane ones.


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