Explore the impact that politics has on the way that national identity is presented through stereotyping in The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil by John McGrath and Dunsinane by David Greig.
This thesis explores the influence that politics has on the way John McGrath and David Greig present national identity through stereotyping in their respective plays, The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil (McGrath 1981) and Dunsinane (Greig 2010). The study begins by assessing the two plays in relation to the relevant Scottish politics and how this affects national identity. It does this in chronological order beginning with The Cheviot (McGrath 1981). The first chapter finds the connection between the themes within the play and Scottish politics both in the 1970s when The Cheviot (McGrath 1981) was written and in present day, as the play is still highly relevant to Scottish society. This evaluation is then completed in the second chapter with Greig’s play, Dunsinane (2010), relating the themes he portrayed in the play to the rising support of the Scottish National Party, from 2010 onwards. The final chapter then surveys McGrath and Greig’s use of stereotypical iconography within the plays. This section assesses how the playwrights differing political stances affect their intentions for, and application of stereotypes within their plays. This thesis comes to the conclusion that national identity within The Cheviot (McGrath 1981) and Dunsinane (Greig 2010) is largely affected by the political background at the time the plays were written, and also by the playwrights own political views.