Georgina’s Struggle for Freedom in The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover
In his work "The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover", Peter Greenaway displays the complexity of his main character Georgina. We witness her constant struggle to break free from her hateful and disgusting husband. She realizes her pernicious dependence on Albert. His coercion, oppression and abuse make Georgina's life unbearable. Her need for freedom is expressed in her involvement in a sexual relation with a man completely different from her husband and his cronies. Their relationship begins silently and is based almost entirely on sex. Sex gave her a measure of control in a world in which her real influence was limited and problematic (Giddens, p.70). The happiness that the lovers derive from the closeness, affection and tenderness of their sexuality are things that Georgina was missing in her inauthentic life. Passion appears as a strong element in their liaison and till the circumstances allowed them to make love unnoticed, their relationship was a carefree and happy experience. When their affair was discovered by Georgina's husband and Michael was afterwards brutally killed, Georgina is left with her confused feelings, unable to assess the real value of the relationship she had with Michael.
In the situation of Georgina there is a sentient need for a creative and rewarding relationship. This physical-psychological desire, however, does not have love as the basis of a long-term, deep emotional relationship between two individuals (Goldman, Philosophy of Sex, pp. 78-79). It is more the bodily desire for the body of another that dominates her mental life (Goldman, Philosophy of Sex, p. 76). In the Georgina's need for closeness we see an acute physical desire. Georgina is craving for intimacy that could be fulfilled by a mutual sex act with somebody different from the environment she despises.
In her relationship she wants to differentiate herself from the repelling world of her husband. This is why Greenaway stresses on the total nakedness of the lovers when they make love: "She has insisted on taking off all their clothes" (Greenaway, p.42). Nakedness allows Georgina to be the person she is in fact. She does not want to wear the clothes that are a part of another world she hates so much. Georgina's desire is oblivion and everything that associates her with Albert should disappear in the few moments she can spend with Michael. Sex, in this sense, is held to lay her bare psychologically as well as physically (Goldman, Philosophy of Sex, p.80).
We can see another effort, in a slightly different direction but depicting the same need of separation with the world of her husband, when she says to Michael, "and don't ever call me Georgie"(Greenaway, p. 51). She hates everything related to Albert--the main reason for her endless misery. He is also the direct cause for Georgina's liaison with Michael because of the...