Our Country's Good

Highlights

- Redemption/ law/Justice 

- Punishment

- Power of theatre/ play 

- Acts and Scenes

- Context

 - Power

- Social Class/ Status

- Humane treatment towards the convicts. 

1 of 23

Captain/ Governer - in Cheif Arthur Phillip

  • RN - Royal Navy officer.
  • He is respectful and humane. 
  • Disgusted and repulsed over the hangings of a teenager and elderly women (Act 1 scene 3).
  • Believes in redemption over corporal and capital punishment. 
  • Uses the power of theatre and Liz Morden, that redemption is possible.
  • Represents the liberal belief system.
  • Phillip has a power status as captain and governer - in chief.
  • Treats the convicts fairly. 
  • The complete opposite of Ross. 
  • High status.
  • He doesn't use his power to do whatever he wants instead, he opens up himself for debate and democratic decisions. 
  • Demonstrates 'Social Contract theory', which is a contract between citizens and the ruler to organise society. 
2 of 23

Major Robbie Ross

  • RM - Royal Marine Officer. He was a senior RM. 
  • He is arrogant.
  • He is stubborn.
  • Only believes in what he whats to believes. 
  • Punishment over redemption.
  • Is completely against the play because he believes that the convicts should be used as slaves in the colony or to be punished.
  •  Over Powered that makes him evil towards the convicts and the guards that are below them. 
  • His character is the complete opposite of Phillip.
  • Represents the beliefs of 18th-century men.
3 of 23

Second Lieutenant Ralph Clark

  • RM officer that was aboard the Friendship. 
  • Feels lonely,  since his wife, Betsey Alicia, is in England.
  • He writes in his journal about how he feels and what he wants. 
  •  At first, we see Ralph treat the convicts with cruelty and sees them then less than human - act 1 scene 1
  • Only sees the play as a good thing, hoping for a promotion (the power of theatre may lead to a promotion) -  in act 1 scene 4. 
  • However, through the power of theatre, Ralph changes and becomes a better person, more like Phillip. 
  • He becomes more humane towards the convicts. 
  • The power of theatre can bring people together, Ralph and Mary and Ralph and the rest of the convicts.
  • In the end, he represents the value of education and redemption.
  • Defends the convicts. 
  • Has a higher social status than the convicts. 
4 of 23

Captain Walkin Tench

  • RM
  • Hates convicts simply because they are convicts.
  • Doesn't believe in redemption and hence, hates the idea of putting the convicts in a play. 
  • Always as a sarcastic mean comment to say about the convicts. 
  • Believes that once a criminal, always a criminal.
  • Hanging is his favourite form of entertainment. 
  • His beliefs are a contrast to Phillips. 
  • He is resistant to change. 
  • Believes that there are more important things to teach them, then a play.
  • Has a higher social status than the lieutenants and the convicts but not has high Phillip, Ross and the other captains.
  • The real Tench, records conversations with the aborigines.
  • He left Australia to serve on the HMS Alexsander until he was captured by the french and escaped like Dabby escaped Australia. 
5 of 23

Midshipman Harry Brewer

  • RN
  • He is vulnerable but at the same time controlling due to his jealousy over Duckling. He has Paranoia, especially over the fear that duckling will leave him.
  • Duckling is his mistress.
  • Through Harry, we see the negative sides of punishing convicts because he is the hangman, that's actually doing the killing rather than the guards. 
  • He sees the convicts he has killed that drives him to commit suicide.
  • We feel sympathy for Harry.
  • Has a multiple personality disorder and hears the voices of the dead. 
  • Has power over Duckling
  • Has a low status amongst the Captains and Lieutenants. 
  • He meets Duckling has she was being arrested for stealing. 
  • The real Harry has a history of alcoholism. 
  • Still drinks in Australia which causes hallucinations, like the ghosts he sees. 
6 of 23

Captain David Collins

  • RM
  • He is a logical and intelligent man. 
  • He believes in the law, justice and fairness over anything else, even the play.  
  • He is the Colony's judge.
  • He makes sure that the law must be upheld. 
  • He motivates himself to maintain justice
  • He agrees that the play should be held and even puts it to a vote, which is the most logical thing to do. 
  • The real Collins forms a friendship with convict James Groves. 
  • He absorbed values from Phillip on how we should treat convicts, humanly
  • Ralph looks up to Collins.
  • In act 1 scene 3, shows he has a firmer perspective of hanging and believes its good for the colony.  
7 of 23

Captain Jemmy Campbell

  • RM
  • Often in a drunk but funny. 
  • A sidekick to Ross. 
  • He talks every time that Ross complains, Campbell talks to make the audience laugh so, that it relieves the intense moments. Also, it could be a way to mock the beliefs of Ross.
  • He is amused by the idea of the convicts performing a play.  
  • Agrees with Ross's opinions every time. 
  • Wants desperately for a proportion off Ross, which Ross recommends to the Admiralty and insist that Sydney Cove be named after him.  
  • He portrays a comedic character to the audience. 
8 of 23

Reverend Richard Johnson

  • Moral guide for convicts and the officers in Australia. 
  • However, he is more concerned about the play to promote Christian beliefs and values. 
  • The power of theatre overwhelms him too much even though it might be for the right reasons. 
  • Believes in redemption through his Christian views and the play
9 of 23

Lieutenant George Johnston

  • RM
  • Shows compassion especially for the convict women on the island.
  • He believes in Christian values and that we should treat sinners, especially women sinners, with compassion. This is what Jesus proposed.
  • Therefore he represents redemption rather than punishment.
  • The real Johnston even took part in the Rum Rebellion, in 1808, when Governor Bligh was overthrown. 
  • Has a Jewish convict wife named Esther Abrahams.
10 of 23

Lieutenant William Dawes

  • RM
  • The colony's astronomer.
  • Doesn't care less about what happens on earth.
  • he agrees on the play as long as, he doesn't have to come and watch it since, a partial lunar eclipse happens on the same night as the play.
  • He lived at Dawes point, which is isolated from the other officers so that he can have some independence. 
  • He studies the customs of the Aboriginal people. 
  • The real Dawes becomes an advocate for the Abolition of the Slave Trade. He even taught freed slaves.  
11 of 23

Second Lieutenant William Faddy

  • RM
  • He hates Ralph. 
  • He disagrees about the play simply because Ralph is pro-play. 
  • Always has sarcastic and nasty insults for Ralph.  
  • He doesn't believe in redemption.
  • He believes that the only reason for Ralph wanting to do the play is because he wants a promotion which consequently means, he is damaging the chances for Faddy gaining a promotion since they have the same rank.   
12 of 23

Mary Brenham

  • Shy convict women.
  • Has a limited voice. 
  • Due to innocent and shy nature, she is considered vulnerable, especially has women and what happened on the convict voyage. 
  • She is in Dabby's shadow. 
  • Intelligent as she can read and some other convicts cannot. 
  • The power of theatre brings people together, she uses the play's words to tell Ralph how she feels.
  • Shes suffers from post-traumatic trauma from being sold to a sailor by Dabby for food for her and her husband. 
  • In act 2 scene 11, she transforms from a shy and traumatised convict to a confident lady. 
  • Falls in love with Ralph.
13 of 23

Dabby Bryant

  • She is mouthy and insightful. 
  • All she wants is to escape and go back to devon. 
  • She wasn't open to learning her lines. 
  • She didn't get involved in the play, so she didn't change much. 
  • She sold Mary to a sailor for food - the life of convicts and poor people in society. 'If God didn't want women to be whore, then he shouldn't have created men who pay for their bodies'. 
  • The real Dabby actually escaped from the island. 
  • She was married by Reverend Johnston to William Bryant. 
  • She gave birth to a baby girl aboard the voyage to Australia on the ship Charlotte. She also named her Charlotte. She also had a son on the island, named Emanuel. 
  • On the voyage back, her husband and son die of a fever in 1791, a year later her daughter died of a fever. 
14 of 23

Ketch Freeman

  • Is a convict that also participants in the hanging of other convicts. 
  • Hated by all the other convicts. 
  • He wants to redeem himself through having a part in the play. He talks to Ralph in act 1 scene 9
  • By the end of the play, he is redeemed.
15 of 23

Duckling Smith

  • She is a strong character but suffers from a fragile relationship.
  • Due to the negative effects of Capital punishment on harry, it also affects Duckling since it is destroying her relationship. 
  • She wants attention since she is not really getting it from Harry in his state of mind. 
  • The audience does feel sympathy for her.
  • The constant question of does she want affection or protection. 
  • She has to fight sometimes for her survival in the relationship and being on that island.
  • Through their relationship, we want the convicts to be allowed to redeem themselves.
  • She was a prostitute who had sex with a guy and stole candlesticks and got caught. This is how she meets Harry because he saw her get arrested, and managed to change her sentence from hanging to being shipped to Australia. 
16 of 23

Liz Morden

  • Bold and opinionated woman.
  • She is a solitary woman.
  • The most troublesome convict in Australia. 
  • Phillip wants to redeem her, which is why he wants her in the play. 
  • The play gives her a voice to defend herself because normally, in the 18th century, people that are in the lower class, wouldn't have been given a fair trial in act 2 scene 10.
  • Her hanging does spark a debate about the fairness of the penal system. 
17 of 23

Robert Sideway

  • Tries to be a cultured and civilised man, especially in front of Ralph. 
  • However, he is actually a funny man when performing his scenes in the first rehearsal (act 1 scene 11).
  • Loves theatre and always performs dramatically.
  • Theatre also makes him brave to stand up for himself in front of Ross. 
  • Due to his sympathetic nature, he tries to save Liz.
  • We see in act 1 scene 1, sideway being punished brutally by Ralph. 
  • The real Sideway, started a theatre company, just like his character said. 
18 of 23

John Wisehammer

  • He is an affectionate and simply a good-natured man.
  • Power of language and theatre.
  • Hates the penal system.
  • Wants to be redeemed. 
  • Loves Mary and because we know that Mary loves Ralph, we fill sympathy.
  • Due to the power of language, everything he says has a purpose and is articulate. 
  • He is Jewish. 
  • Hates any Antisemitism. 
  • Never gets together with Mary and eventually marries another convict. 
19 of 23

John Arscott

  • He wants to run away. 
  • He learns he can escape through the play
  • He takes refuge in the play - ' i don't have to remember the things I have done.' (Act 2 Scene 7).
  • Gets redeemed.
  • He wants to run away but, then he play becomes everything. 
  • He builds the set for the play.
20 of 23

Black Caesar

  • He is a bushranger. A thief in Australia, who commonly stole the expensive things on the island. 
  • The real Caesar eventually gest killed in 1796.
  • He is feared amongst the convicts. 
  • He rapes Mary. 
  • Caesar goes missing in Act 2 Scene 11, in the final performance. 
  • He is from Madagascar. 
21 of 23

Meg Long (sh***y Meg)

  • Her nickname that everyone calls her is sh***y Meg because, of her horrible odour. 
  •  Has a low status. 
  • Ralph is disgusted by her. 
  • She doesn't get a chance to be in the play
  • She has no chance of redemption because she isn't in the play
22 of 23

The Aboriginal Australian

  • Someone born in Australia before the first fleet came. 
  • Innocent bystander.
  • Saw the fleets as ghosts because most of them are white. 
  • He highlights the British's lack of empathy. 
  • Shows the negative sides of colonisation.
23 of 23

Comments

No comments have yet been made

Similar Drama & Theatre Studies resources:

See all Drama & Theatre Studies resources »See all characters resources »