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Victoria appears in the first act, but only occasionally, and even then, she is played by a doll. She is literally Clive's puppet. Her liberation as a woman takes place entirely in the second act. In Act II, Victoria experiences the dual challenge of establishing an identity and becoming a good mother. Her search for identity is rather successful, but her development as mother does not proceed terribly well. Victoria pays so little attention to her son Tommy that he never even appears onstage. Her failure as a mother is also represented in her losing him in the park. These shortcomings separate Victoria to some degree from her own mother, Betty, who was always a dutiful mother. Perhaps Churchill suggests that the old way of life is not all bad. Clive's values demanded that his children have a responsible mother.
In Act II, Victoria faces a new kind of constraint. She is no longer a dummy, but the nature of her relationship with Martin is restricting in a different way. Martin, although ostensibly in favor of Victoria's liberation, exerts control by making her feel guilty for not responding well to his attempts to satisfy her sexually. Only through a gay relationship with Lin can Victoria find a balance between love and liberation. As far as Victoria's role as a mother is concerned, her irresponsibility forces Martin to be responsible, thereby further developing the idea that traditional gender roles cannot be taken for granted. In modern London, men become women, and fathers become mothers.
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