Our Country’s Good

by

Timberlake Wertenbaker

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Liz Morden Character Analysis

One of the convicts in the penal colony. Liz is the most insubordinate prisoner of the entire group, often tempting the guards to punish her by misbehaving or speaking out of turn. It is for this reason that Governor Phillip wants Ralph to cast her in the play, eventually explaining to him that he wants to make an “example” out of her—not by executing her, but by spotlighting her “redemption.” However, he encounters some difficulty with this plan when Henry Kable, John Arscott, and several other prisoners try to escape. This affects Liz because a soldier claims to have seen her when he was drunk the night before the group ran away. Indeed, this soldier upholds that Liz helped Kable steel food for the journey. Because of this, Major Ross insists that she should be hanged. During her trial, Liz doesn’t advocate for herself, thinking that it won’t matter what she says. Luckily for her, though, Judge Collins and Governor Phillip suspect that this is why she doesn’t try to defend herself, so they give her another chance, ultimately convincing her to explain her innocence and thus avoid the death penalty.

Liz Morden Quotes in Our Country’s Good

The Our Country’s Good quotes below are all either spoken by Liz Morden or refer to Liz Morden. 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 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 Two Quotes

PHILLIP. Liz Morden—(He pauses.) I had a reason for asking you to cast her as Melinda. Morden is one of the most difficult women in the colony.

RALPH. She is indeed, Sir.

PHILLIP. Lower than a slave, full of loathing, foul mouthed, desperate.

RALPH. Exactly, Sir. And violent.

PHILLIP. Quite. To be made an example of.

RALPH. By hanging?

PHILLIP. No, Lieutenant, by redemption.

Related Symbols: Public Hangings
Page Number: 71
Explanation and Analysis:
Act Two, Scene Ten Quotes

COLLINS. My only fear, Your Excellency, is that she may have refused to speak because she no longer believes in the process of justice. If that is so, the courts here will become travesties. I do not want that.

PHILLIP. But if she won’t speak, there is nothing more we can do. You cannot get at the truth through silence.

Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:
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Liz Morden Character Timeline in Our Country’s Good

The timeline below shows where the character Liz Morden appears in Our Country’s Good. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Act One, Scene Four
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
...his writing, he tells her about life in the colony, saying that a prisoner named Liz Morden was whipped for being “impertinent.” This, Ralph thinks, was much deserved, since Liz has... (full context)
Act One, Scene Five
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
...Mary’s character, Silvia (who is the play’s lead). As Ralph tries to lead this audition, Liz Morden arrives, much to the chagrin of Dabby, who looks at her confrontationally while Mary... (full context)
Act One, Scene Seven
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Guilt, Regret, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...up, he suggests that she join Ralph’s play. He then explains that Dabby Bryant and Liz Morden are also in the cast, and Duckling agrees to participate. “How is Lieutenant Clark... (full context)
Act One, Scene Eight
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Guilt, Regret, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...Mary replies. The two convicts decide to focus on their lines again, and before long, Liz Morden joins them. Though Dabby bristles at her presence, Mary eventually helps her with her... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
As Liz and Dabby fight, Ketch Freeman enters and asks why they’re “at each other’s throats.” The... (full context)
Act One, Scene Eleven
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
...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 because he’s... (full context)
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
...as he yells, “My wiper! Someone’s buzzed my wiper!” Looking about himself, he jumps at Liz and starts to fight her, but Ralph separates them and forces Sideway to continue the... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Deciding to rehearse a scene with the female convicts, Ralph calls Liz and Mary to the front of the group and asks them to read for him.... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
...in the escape, Ross says, “You’re Jewish, aren’t you?” Lastly, he turns his attention to Liz and claims that she was seen near the colony’s food supply the previous night with... (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.... (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... (full context)
Act Two, Scene Two
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Governor Phillip tells Ralph that he wanted Liz to do the play because he wanted to make an “example” of her. Although she’s... (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 are allowed... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
...skirt to show her tattoo. Just as she’s about to obey him, though, Sideway faces Liz and delivers his line, stopping Ross from continuing to exert his power over the convicts.... (full context)
Act Two, Scene Six
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Guilt, Regret, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
Later, Harry summons Ketch to take Liz’s measurements in preparation for her hanging the next day. Apologetically, Ketch tries to measure Liz,... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
Guilt, Regret, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
After measuring Liz, Ketch apologizes again, telling her that if he doesn’t hang her, someone else will. At... (full context)
Act Two, Scene Seven
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Guilt, Regret, and Forgiveness Theme Icon
...with him because she can’t stop thinking about the fact that he’s going to hang Liz the following day. “One has to transcend personal feelings in the theatre,” Ralph insists, but... (full context)
Act Two, Scene Ten
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
In a meeting about Liz Morden, Judge Collins tells Ralph, Major Ross, Captain Campbell, and Governor Phillip that the convict... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
Ralph says that Liz did tell Harry Brewer she was innocent, but Harry is dead and was never able... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
Judge Collins sends Campbell to fetch Liz, whom he gives one last chance to defend herself. Explaining that they’ll be forced to... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
Having gotten the truth out of Liz, Governor Phillip asks why she didn’t advocate for her innocence earlier. “Because it wouldn’t have... (full context)
Act Two, Scene Eleven
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Power Theme Icon
Governance and Justice Theme Icon
...many people have come to see the play. Noticing Duckling—who is mourning the loss of Harry—Liz tells her that Dabby could fill in for her, but Duckling insists upon doing it... (full context)
Punishment and Rehabilitation Theme Icon
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
...Australia once he’s free, assuring everyone that they can join. Everyone loves this idea, including Liz, who says she’d happily be part of Sideway’s company. “And so will I,” Ketch chimes... (full context)
Theater, Liberation, and Unity Theme Icon
...and Caesar finally “pulls himself together.” Having heard this reference to hanging, Ketch turns to Liz and tells her that he wouldn’t have been able to hang her. (full context)