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Introduction & Overview of Rites by Maureen Duffy

This Study Guide consists of approximately 29 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Rites.
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Rites Summary & Study Guide Description

Rites Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading on Rites by Maureen Duffy.

Rites, by British playwright Maureen Duffy, was first performed in 1969, at the National Theatre Repertory Company in London. The play takes place in a woman's public restroom, and has an all-female cast. The characters are representative working class women of London, including the restroom manager and attendant, three office workers, and two widows in their sixties. The action and dialogue of the play reveal the anger and resentment the women feel toward men in their romantic and sexual relationships, and at work. The play finally erupts in a few moments of frenzied violence in which the women kill someone they believe to be a male spy, only to find that their victim is a woman.

Rites is very loosely based on The Bacchae, a play by the ancient Greek dramatist, Euripides, which describes the conflict between the largely female worshipers of the god Dionysus and the male representatives of law and order in the city of Thebes. Like Rites,The Bacchae culminates in a frenzied killing by a group of women.

Rites was written at a time when the women's liberation movement of the 1960s and 1970s was gathering strength. Like the women's movement, the play exposes the stifling effects on women of gender stereotypes at many levels of society.

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This section contains 210 words
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Drama for Students
Rites from Drama for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.