Alec and Isa

Alec and Isa provide a contrast to John and Maggie. Alec embodies John’s weaker qualities. He is lazy and feeble, and lashes out (sometimes violently) when provoked by his recalcitrant wife.

Described by Maggie as delicate, Alec has dedicated his life to Isa and cannot handle the thought of her leaving him.

Essentially he is spoilt and takes advantage of his mother’s love for him – when he wants cigarettes and attention from Maggie we see him play-acting for all he’s worth and later he craftily slinks out with most of the money from Maggie’s purse, which suggests he has an insidious nature that shocks his mother.

Although she has a strong spirit and is by no means controlled by her husband, Isa is an almost grotesque character.

She is disliked by most and is constantly rude to Maggie. Her sexual appetite is apparent, and we are perturbed by the advances she makes towards John, her father-in-law. Unlike his mother, Isa does not submit to Alec’s demands and is constantly admonishing him.

For her, independence does not come from gender equality. Rather, she is prepared merely to leave one marriage to find another man who can provide for her financially.

She declares that she likes a man tae be a man. Staun up for hissel – not a trait of her feeble husband.