John Osborne: A Patriot for Me

(1078 words)
  • Andrew Wyllie (University of the West of England)

In A Patriot for Me (1965), John Osborne explores the complex and ambivalent nature of his homosexual traitor hero, Colonel Redl. An able and dedicated officer in the Austro-Hungarian army of the 1900s, Redl is both humanized and damned by his outsider status. He is part-Jewish and all homosexual, aspects of his persona which land him with considerable personal conflict. At the time of its first performance the ambivalent but largely sympathetic portrayal of a homosexual man was remarkable, and was duly remarked on by the critics. The play\'s major theme, however, is that the marginalization of homosexuality, and the conspiratorial silence that this forced on practising homosexual men, created a real danger to the state …

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Wyllie, Andrew. "A Patriot for Me". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 17 July 2001
[, accessed 25 September 2016.]

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