Tag Archive 'Oleanna essay topics'

Oleanna Essay

August 11, 2009

Drama is perhaps one of the most significant forms of human entertainment preserved throughout the centuries by scribes. Since approximately 500 B.C. drama produced such renowned authors as Euripides, William Shakespeare, and today’s David Mamet. Mamet, winner of two Pulitzer Prizes for Glengarry Glen Ross and Speed-the-Plow, wrote Oleanna, an extremely controversial play, involving sexual harassment and power. Instead of using conventional sexual harassment scenarios which continually made front page news during the early 90’s (Clarence Thomas vs. Anita Hill), Mamet elects to centralize the subject of sexual harassment within the relationship of a college professor (John) and his student (Carol). Even though it is apparent to the audience that John is a genuinely nice and honest man who enjoys power and authority he possesses as a college professor, his ability to be extremely naпve in such a delicate situation (private one on one meeting with a student of the opposite sex) is his ultimate downfall.

John demonstrates his kindness and sincerity when he tries to comfort Carol by revealing secrets from his past, during their first initial conversation. By sympathizing with his student, John tries to build a foundation for communication: I’ll tell you a story about myself. (Pause) Do you mind? (Pause) I was raised to think myself stupid I was brought up and my earliest and persistent memories are of being told I was stupid (15-16)….

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