Changing Roles of the Brothers in True West The two brothers in Sam Shepard’s play, True West, represent transformation. Both transformations are humorous in that they reveal desperation in the characters as both lack clear judgment generally produced by inebriation. The play begins with Austin and Lee together again for the first time in five years. There is an obvious sense of tension as Lee is jealous that his mother asked Austin to take care of her house while she went on a vacation. One of the central themes in the play is the apparent exchanging of personality traits between the brothers as their conflict develops throughout the play. In the beginning scenes, they are described as polar opposites and seem to have nothing in common....The end:
..... 47). Sam Shepard is demonstrating that these characteristics of Lee can exist in all humans regardless of what might be shown on the surface. The hostility between the two is not because of their differences, but the fear in Austin that he could turn out like his brother. The mother is the first to recognize this and runs from the situation in an effort to avoid witnessing the transformation any further. Under the right circumstances, anyone can act like Lee as Austin clearly exhibits. The ultimate purpose of their identity switch is not to focus on the change, but more as a revelation that this characteristic lived just beneath the surface in Austin the entire time. References Shepard, Sam. (2005). Seven Plays. New York, NY: Random House.