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Men Should Weep


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A: Ena Lamont Stewart Pf: 1947, Glasgow Pb: 1983 G: Drama in 3 acts; Glaswegian dialect S: Kitchen in Morrisons' home, east end of Glasgow, winter 1930s C: 4m, 9f, 2 children (1m, 1f)Because her socialist husband John Morrison is out of work, his wife Maggie has to go out to work as a charwoman to support her family. When she comes home, she has to catch up with the housework, because such chores would be beneath the husband's dignity. One young son has tuberculosis, and another, married to a grasping wife, is constantly trying to borrow money from Maggie. Her daughter Jenny decides to become a wealthy man's mistress, raising the question whether her behaviour is any more immoral than entering into an unsuitable marriage. Encouraged by her tough sister Lily, Maggie accepts money from Jenny (dismissed by her father as ‘whore's winnins’) and dreams of a new home away from the slums.

A: Ena Lamont Stewart Pf: 1947, Glasgow Pb: 1983 G: Drama in 3 acts; Glaswegian dialect S: Kitchen in Morrisons' home, east end of Glasgow, winter 1930s C: 4m, 9f, 2 children (1m, 1f)

Stewart was the major woman Scottish playwright of the first half of the 20th century. Often writing in Scots vernacular, she declared war on the middle-class taste for drawing-room comedies, in a ‘red-hot revolt against cocktail time, glamorous gowns and underworked, about-to-be-deceived husbands’. This moving but funny piece suggests that ‘men should weep’ over the conditions women are forced to work in, but also that, if men could only abandon their concern with masculinity and weep themselves, the world might be a better place. Originally written for Glasgow Unity Theatre, Men Should Weep was successfully revived by John McGrath's 7:84 company in 1982, allowing Stewart to take her place as a neglected pioneer of socialist feminist playwriting.

Subjects: Literary Studies (Plays and Playwrights).


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