Our Country’s Good

by

Timberlake Wertenbaker

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John Wisehammer Character Analysis

A convict in the penal colony, and another actor in Ralph’s play. Wisehammer isn’t initially cast in The Recruiting Officer, but Mary encourages him to join when he talks to her about his literary knowledge. Having stumbled into her while she’s practicing her lines, he tells her that he has read every word in the dictionary up to the letter L. Later, Major Ross accuses him of being involved with Arscott’s escape simply because he’s Jewish, though he—like the others—is still allowed to act in the play. On opening night, he asks Ralph if he can read a prologue he wrote before the production begins, but Ralph says what he’s composed is too political. Because of this, Sideway promises him that they can use it in the company he’s going to start when they’re all free.

John Wisehammer Quotes in Our Country’s Good

The Our Country’s Good quotes below are all either spoken by John Wisehammer or refer to John Wisehammer. 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 One, Scene One Quotes

At night? The sea cracks against the ship. Fear whispers, screams, falls silent, hushed. Spewed from our country, forgotten, bound to the dark edge of the earth, at night what is there to do but seek English cunt, warm, moist, soft, oh the comfort, the comfort of the lick, the thrust into the nooks, the crannies of the crooks of England. Alone, frightened, nameless in this stinking hole of hell, take me, take me inside you, whoever you are. Take me, my comfort and we’ll remember England together.

Page Number: 7
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Two, Scene One Quotes

WISEHAMMER. I am innocent. I didn’t do it and I’ll keep saying I didn’t.

LIZ. It doesn’t matter what you say. If they say you’re a thief, you’re a thief.

WISEHAMMER. I am not a thief. I’ll go back to England to the snuff shop of Rickett and Loads and say, see, I’m back, I’m innocent.

LIZ. They won’t listen.

WISEHAMMER. You can’t live if you think that way.

Page Number: 67
Explanation and Analysis:

MARY. Liz, we’ve come to rehearse the play.

WISEHAMMER. Rehearse the play?

DUCKLING. The Lieutenant has gone to talk to the Governor. Harry said we could come see you.

MARY. The Lieutenant has asked me to stand in his place so we don’t lose time. We’ll start with the first scene between Melinda and Brazen.

WISEHAMMER. How can I play Captain Brazen in chains?

MARY. This is the theatre. We will believe you.

Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Two, Scene Seven Quotes

DABBY. When dealing with men, always have a contract.

MARY. Love is a contract.

DABBY. Love is the barter of perishable goods. A man’s word for a woman’s body.

Related Characters: Mary Brenham (speaker), Dabby Bryant (speaker), Second Lieutenant Ralph Clark , John Wisehammer
Page Number: 85
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Two, Scene Eleven Quotes

From distant climes o’er wide-spread seas we come,
Though not with much éclat or beat of drum,
True patriots all; for be it understood,
We left our country for our country’s good;
No private views disgraced our generous zeal,
What urg’d our travels was our country’s weal,
And none will doubt but that our emigration
Has prov’d most useful to the British nation.

Related Characters: John Wisehammer (speaker)
Page Number: 107
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Our Country’s Good LitChart as a printable PDF.
Our Country’s Good PDF

John Wisehammer Character Timeline in Our Country’s Good

The timeline below shows where the character John Wisehammer appears in Our Country’s Good. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One, Scene One
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
...go, he falls into a heap on the deck, and a fellow convict named John Wisehammer delivers a brief monologue about the loneliness and fright of the grueling passage, talking about... (full context)
Act One, Scene Ten
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
...copies lines from the play onto paper (since there aren’t enough scripts to go around), Wisehammer stops to listen as she speaks the words aloud. Every so often, he seizes upon... (full context)
Act One, Scene Eleven
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
...the first rehearsal of The Recruiting Officer, Ralph gathers the convicts he’s casted, including Sideway, Wisehammer, Mary, Liz, Dabby, Duckling, and Ketch. As Ralph tries to begin, the prisoners insult Ketch... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
...amongst the actors. “He started going with them and came back.” He then looks at Wisehammer and accuses him of being “guilty,” and when Wisehammer says he was completely uninvolved in... (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... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Liz and Wisehammer discuss the idea of returning to England after their sentences are over. Liz doesn’t think... (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,... (full context)
Act Two, Scene Five
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
Major Ross and Captain Campbell escort Caesar, Wisehammer, and Liz to the second rehearsal of The Recruiting Officer. All of them except Liz... (full context)
Act Two, Scene Seven
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
After 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... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Wisehammer tells Ralph that he has written a new prologue for the play, since the current... (full context)
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Guilt, Regret, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
When the rehearsal resumes, Wisehammer approaches and kisses Mary. Seeing this, Ralph “angrily” interrupts, saying the script doesn’t indicate that... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Guilt, Regret, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...that she wants to do a play that more closely resembles her own life. However, Wisehammer points out that this is the beauty of the theater, which can help a person... (full context)
Act Two, Scene Eleven
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Wisehammer doesn’t understand why Dabby wants to go back to England. “It’s too small and they... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
Wisehammer reminds Ralph of his prologue. Reading it aloud backstage, he pronounces lines such as: “True... (full context)