Discuss with Critical Analysis of Mrs. Rafi Character in "The Sea"



The Character of Mrs. Rafi is the portrayal of a typical upper middle class lady that would exert her pressure on the lower strata of society bullying them to do her errands. Primarily, she seems to have adopted the punitive and authoritarian role in the society she lives in. Since the play is about the conflict between the established forces of society which don't let individuals get free, hence, Mrs. Rafi stands for the exploitative side of the society while the characters like Hatch, Mrs. Tilehouse, Mafanwy, Jilly, Vicar etc. are under her influence. She doesn't want to lose control over the characters in the play. She rather believes that she is needed by these people: "Sometimes I think I am like a lighthouse in their world. I give them a sense of order and security."

Despite all the criticism we may have on the negative side of her authoritarian role and punitive measures which not only bankrupt stupid Hatch but also destroy his social life, she is the bridge and discipline of the small town she lives in. She is the one that manages the coast guard fund and voluntary people are deployed on the coast so that lives of the people could be saved. She arranges social gatherings and raises incomes for the payment of those coast guards which include Hatch, Hollarcut, Evens etc. So, she has a positive role to play in the society she lives in. In the second last scene, Mrs. Rafi says that she is getting old and people always expect her to behave the way upper class should i.e. rebuking, scolding, directing their course. She says that she is "so tired of them".

She has got artistic taste and loves to perform annually on the town theatre. All this seems not only the satisfaction of her aristocratic nature but also a sympathetic charity towards the coast guard fund of the town. She is supported by the other influential people of the town. They do rehearse the play in her house. Again, even during rehearsals and assigning of roles as well as modifications in the costumes or the adjustments of the minor characters, she appears commanding with authority. She directs and orders with none to disobey her. She likes to sing the song "there's no place like home" though it is not in the script but she would because she likes it and it is popular too. She is directing the characters for the performance of the play and rebukes Mafanwy who finds it difficult to pretend swimming when he is actually walking.




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