Rose Maxon Character in the Play “Fences” by August Wilson Essay

March 16, 2022 by Essay Writer

Rose Maxon is the main female character of August Wilson’s famous play Fences. The feminine spiritual strength of Rose, who is physically weak, is opposed by the author to the manly physical strength of Troy, who has a lack of psychic and emotional strength. Rose is portrayed as a strong woman due to the ability to oppose her husband, readiness to accept dramatic events in her life and overcome them, and spiritual strength expressed in wisdom and unconditional love to her dearest ones.

Though Rose is married to the man who has patriarchal views and seems to be dominating in the family, she is strong enough to oppose him and express her opinions. First of all, Rose opposes Troy when he is doing the wrong things. She openly says about her disagreement with Troy’s forbidding their son Cory to go to college on a football scholarship.

She also criticizes him for refusing giving money to his elder son Lyons and manages to force him to change his mind by saying “Let the boy have ten dollars, Troy” (Wilson 11; act I, scene I). This situation reveals the strong impact Rose has on Troy’s actions. Besides, though Troy behaves like a husband demanding full respect and obedience from his wife using the clichés of patriarchal men like “This is men talk, woman,” Rose often participates in Troy’s conversations with other men and oppose the opinions he expresses (Wilson 5; act I, scene I).

She also permits herself criticize Troy and say things that can potentially hurt his ego and point to his weak sides: “Troy, why don’t you admit you was too old to play in the major league? For once… Why don’t you admit that?” (Wilson 20; act I, scene III). Except verbal opposing to the husband, Rose also dares to refuse Troy when he tries to kiss her by saying: “Troy, you better leave me alone” (Wilson 16; act I, scene III). This detail demonstrates that Rose is not afraid of her husband and has enough strength to make him respect her wishes. She is neither afraid of demonstrating her emotions to him.

She confesses that considering Troy the person she has to live for was her choice, and nobody forced her to do it: “I took on his life as mine and mixed up the pieces so that you couldn’t hardly tell which was which anymore. It was my choice. It was my life and I didn’t have to live it like that” (Wilson 46; act II, scene V). However, after discovering Troy’s betrayal, she confidently proclaims: “This child got a mother. But you are a womanless man” (Wilson 38; act II, scene I).

Though Rose plays the role of a housewife and recognizes Troy’s leading role in the family, she is not portrayed as a weak woman unable to oppose her husband. On the contrary, the author introduces the readers to the woman who has a strong influence on her husband and expresses her wishes and opinions openly.

Another aspect of Rose’s strength is related to her readiness to face difficult situations and overcome them. Opposite to Troy, who is stuck in his past failures and regrets, Rose demonstrates the ability to move over the bad situations. This feature is brightly illustrated by Rose’s behavior after discovering her husband’s faithlessness.

Even though she is shocked by Troy’s affair with Alberta and the news about their child, she finds enough strength in herself to try to save her family and find a solution. Her strong personality enables her to gain her self-control and cold-mindedness and try to deal with the problem. Even though Troy does not seem to be eager to refuse from his affair, Rose insists: “I am your wife. Don’t push me away” (Wilson 37; act II; scene II).

Only a very strong woman can behave like this after experiencing a huge stress related to revealing the faithlessness of the husband. Rose’s ability to overcome the past and continue living in spite of grief is also reflected in her ability to forgive. Even though she is deeply offended by Troy’s betrayal, after his death she behaves like a devoted wife who forgives the past mistakes of her husband. When Cory refuses to go to Troy’s funeral, she says: “Boy, hush your mouth.

That’s your daddy you talking about. I don’t want hear that kind of talk this morning” (Wilson 45; act II, scene V). Only a strong woman can manage not to let her feelings of resentment to her husband influence the attitudes of their children to him. The author reveals Rose’s strong personality by demonstrating her ability to move on and forgive for the sake of her family.

I think, the brightest illustration of the fact that Rose is a strong woman is her feminine spiritual strength. Her main strength is related to her ability to share the love with the dearest ones and judge the life situations and people’s feelings wisely. Being an ordinary housewife, Rose surprises the reader with numerous manifestations of her huge wisdom throughout the text. She wisely sees the initial motives of the behavior of Cory: “Everything that boy do… He do for you. He wants you to say “Good job, son.” That’s all” (Wilson 21; act I, scene III).

She also reveals Troy’s motives: “Your daddy wanted you to be everything he wasn’t” (Wilson 21; act II, scene V). Her wisdom is also expressed in her understanding of a main woman’s role in a family life: “And whenever you was going… I wanted to be there with you. Cause you was my husband. Cause that’s the way I was gonna survive as your wife” (Wilson 34; act II, scene I).

Her wisdom is also reflected in her decision to raise the daughter of her husband and his mistress: “And you can’t visit the sins of the father upon the child” (Wilson 38; act II, scene I). Besides the wisdom, Rose demonstrates the strength of feminine cordiality and kindness. She gives her love to all members of the family and agrees to raise Raynell because she knows that “a motherless child has got a hard time” (Wilson 38; act II, scene I).

The main source of Rose’s strength is her loving, kind heart enabling her to overcome any distress. Rose’s spiritual strength is opposed to Tray’s egoism encouraging him to consider himself a victim and get stuck in regrets.

Rose Maxon is presented by Wilson as a strong woman capable of opposing her husband and dealing with difficult situations with the help of her feminine strength given to her by her warm and loving heart.

Works Cited

Wilson, August. Fences. 1987. PDF file. 2015. Web.

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