Our Country’s Good

by

Timberlake Wertenbaker

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John Arscott Character Analysis

One of the convicts in the penal colony. Ralph casts Arscott in The Recruiting Officer, but the prisoner runs away with Henry Kable, Black Caesar, and several others before the first rehearsal. However, he’s caught, brought back to the colony, and placed in jail, where he complains to Liz and Wisehammer that the “compass” he bought from a sailor failed him (the compass, it turns out, is just a piece of paper with the word “North” written on it). Because of this failed attempt, Arscott becomes rather hopeless, insisting that there’s no “escape” from the colony. Later, though, he becomes immersed in The Recruiting Officer, feeling as if the theatrical experience gives him an opportunity to forget about his own life.

John Arscott Quotes in Our Country’s Good

The Our Country’s Good quotes below are all either spoken by John Arscott or refer to John Arscott. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
).
Act Two, Scene Seven Quotes

When I say Kite’s lines I forget everything else. I forget the judge said I’m going to have to spend the rest of my natural life in this place getting beaten and working like a slave. I can forget that out there it’s trees and burnt grass, spiders that kill you in four hours and snakes. I don’t have to think about what happened to Kable, I don’t have to remember the things I’ve done, when I speak Kite’s lines I don’t hate anymore.

Related Characters: John Arscott (speaker), Dabby Bryant, Henry Kable
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:
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Our Country’s Good PDF

John Arscott Character Timeline in Our Country’s Good

The timeline below shows where the character John Arscott appears in Our Country’s Good. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One, Scene Eleven
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
...to verbally spar. Meanwhile, Ralph tries to proceed but notices that Henry Kable and John Arscott (two other convicts he cast) aren’t present, though he notes that Arscott said he’d be... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
...but Major Ross and Captain Campbell barge in and inform Ralph that five prisoners—including John Arscott and Henry Kable—have run away during the rehearsal. Ralph tries to point out that the... (full context)
Act Two, Scene One
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
Guilt, Regret, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Having been placed in chains, Liz, Wisehammer, Arscott, and Caesar sit next to each other as Liz relates her life story. She speaks... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
...to go back. Similarly, Caesar wants to return to Madagascar to “join [his] ancestors.” Interrupting, Arscott says, “There’s no escape!” As Caesar refutes this, Arscott tries to convince him to give... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
As Wisehammer informs Arscott that the sailor who sold him the fake compass “betrayed” him, Sideway, Mary, and Duckling... (full context)
Act Two, Scene Five
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
...his power over the convicts. As they continue, Ross angrily orders Campbell to go punish Arscott for having tried to run away. Shortly thereafter, the air is filled with the sounds... (full context)
Act Two, Scene Seven
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...the Aboriginal Australian man leaves, Mary and Ralph rehearse in front of Dabby, Wisehammer, and Arscott. After a moment, they pause to discuss the script, wondering why Mary’s character wants Ralph’s... (full context)
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Guilt, Regret, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...discusses The Recruiting Officer, and Dabby complains about how little she identifies with her character. Arscott, on the other hand, is pleased with his role as a man named Kite. “When... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Guilt, Regret, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Despite Arscott’s good attitude, Dabby is still upset, saying that she wants to do a play that... (full context)
Act Two, Scene Eleven
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...I say my lines, I think of nothing else. Why can’t you do the same?” Arscott says. In response, Dabby says that the play is temporary, pointing out that what she... (full context)
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Guilt, Regret, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...and gives last-minute directorial advice to the actors before realizing that Caesar is missing. As Arscott goes looking for him, Ralph gives Duckling his condolences and tells her she doesn’t need... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
...the actors one last encouraging speech, telling them that they’re “on their own” now. Finally, Arscott goes onstage to deliver his opening monologue, which receives cascades of laughter and applause from... (full context)