Analysis: The Shape Of Things

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In the drama “The Shape of Things”, Neil LaBute explores gender roles and exposes alternative visions of power, control and morality in human relationships. The drama narrates the physical and behavioral transformation of Adam, a part-time museum guard who is subject to the manipulation and control of a radical artist named Evelyn Ann Thompson. This essay will demonstrate that Adam is not responsible for his transformation, and that he is a victim of Evelyn’s manipulation and control. Gender reversal is one of the techniques employed by the author that allows the reader to perceive the character of Adam as a victim. In the beginning of the play, LaBute switches traditional gender roles by portraying Evelyn as a dominant figure and Adam as a passive character. Thus, Evelyn plays a masculine role and Adam a feminine role in the play. This is noticeable in the scene where Adam fails to convince Evelyn of stepping away from the statue at the museum. In this scene, Evelyn defies Adam’s authority by stating her intention of defacing a statue because she does not like “art that isn’t true” (LaBute 8). Adam appears to be dominated by Evelyn and unable to exert any authority over her. The feminization of Adam continues to develop throughout the play and it is a key element to understand the submissive role of the character who is subject to objectification and manipulation. Another aspect in the play that allows the reader to identify Adam as a victim of Evelyn is the element of
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