Conflict in Successful Drama: "The One Day of the Year" by Alan Seymour.

Essay by magick_muse May 2003

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We live in a world where, without conflict, there is no entertainment. It is a convention of drama that there must be conflict between characters in order for it to be entertaining, and thus be successful. We can consider a text to be successful if the playwright is able to convey a view of a theme or issue to the audience that challenges our views as he or she originally intended. Through the conflicting views of characters, the audience is often exposed to attitudes and opinions different to their own. The One Day of the Year, by Alan Seymour, is a play that examines how through both the internal and external conflicts of different characters, we are exposed to an array of contrasting opinions, therefore validating the statement that this is successful drama.

The main conflict between characters in The One Day of the Year is between Alf and his son, Hughie.

Alf is a steadfast believer in Australia's superiority over other nations. He is jingoistic, xenophobic and stubborn. In fact, the first impression the reader gains of Alf is from his opening statement: "I'm a bloody Australian and I'll always stand up for bloody Australia." (Pg 27) But more importantly, he believes that Anzac Day is the one day of the year where he, and others like him, are considered heroes, and consequently can celebrate their heroism by getting blind drunk. Hughie, on the other hand, works towards exposing Anzac Day for what he believes it truly is- an excuse to get drunk. Hughie has been brought up with Alf's version of Anzac Day celebrations, and it is this which has shaped his anti-Anzac Day views. These two points of views are in direct conflict with each other, and are made all the more shocking by the...