How does the David Williamson use conflict as a way of exploring ideas in his play, 'Brilliant Lies'?

Essay by ruby_redHigh School, 12th gradeA, April 2004

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How does the author use conflict as a way of exploring ideas?

"The play of conflicting interests in a framework of shared purposes is the drama of a free society. It is a robust exercise and a noisy one, not for the faint-hearted or the tidy-minded." A conflict is a clash of opposing principles, opinions or natures. All plays must have a central or series of conflicts to create dramatic tension in order to engage their audience. Playwrights use these conflicts and the evolving tensions to express their ideas, or issues they are observing in society.

The success of a playwright can depend on how well the conflicts between characters in the play reflect important current ideas or timeless issues in the community. Even though the play is written about a sexual harassment claim, this is not the central issue that Williamson explores. It is, however, crucial to the conflict that Williamson raises, because it is from the claim of harassment that most of the conflicts stem.

Williamson, himself said, "Brilliant Lies was ostensibly about sexual harrassment. That was the peg on which the play was hung, but it was still more about the old uneasiness and enmity between the sexes." (ABC Radio National interview, ...)

As a playwright Williamson uses current political or topical issues, such as feminism and legislative change embodied in the sexual harassment claim to challenge our ideas of who the victim in our society really is. Issues like the nature of truth, the feminist backlash against exploitation, and the relationship of power and sexuality, emerge from the primary conflict between Susy and Gary and the secondary conflicts between the other characters.

Sexual harassment is a contemporary issue, however, by writing the play as he does, Williamson also raises the timeless ideas of greed,