One of the history boy’s many strengths is its characterisation of the various individuals in the play. Using extremely contrasting personalities emphasizes the individuality and purpose of each character. One character that specifically stands out is Dakin, possibly the most socially dominant boy of the class. In the opening scene Dakin gives off a negative impression. He exploits his intellect and shows arrogance when he says: “you should treat us with more respect. We’re scholarship candidates now. ” This shows power over his fellow students and mostly over Hector, his superior.
Dakin is using persuasive language to have a mental control over his peers and teacher. The arrogance and power could be considered a premonition for the influence Dakin can have on the other characters and the plot overall. Also from the opening scene Dakin is portrayed to be an attention seeker. When the focus is on Hector playfully hitting the students he likes, Dakin makes it his priority to state that he is one of these popular pupils. “(happily) I’m black and Blue”. Firstly the stage directions highlight the emotions of Dakin.
It creates an ironic statement, as typically when a person is beaten their reaction is far from joyful. Also Bennett uses alliteration to emphasize the phrase and the sound. Throughout the play it is made obvious that Dakin is sexually confident. He often mentions Fiona, the secretary he is seeing. “She’s my Western Front” Using metaphors to describe his love subject demonstrates that he does not take relationships or romance in general seriously. This suggests immaturity and possibly shows that he does not consider other people’s feelings.
His naivety predominantly proves that he can be selfish which significantly becomes a factor when it comes to love interests. As the play proceeds Dakin’s power become more relevant and obvious to the audience. It is quite surprising how quickly he gains control and manipulation over Irwin. “Do you have a life? Or are we it? Are we your life? ” The repetition of the question focussing on life provides emphasis on the fact that Dakin is extremely interested in Irwin. However Dakin also does this to pressure and influence an answer from his teacher.
The increasing authority Dakin has over Irwin effects the boundaries of professionalism and social life. From Dakin’s encounters with Irwin, the audience get the idea that Dakin is extremely observational and intelligent in manipulating ways. He confronts Irwin’s sexuality indirectly by using Auden, a homosexual poet. “Do you think he was more like you or more like Mr. Hector, sir? ” This quotation is an example of literary allusions. He uses this specific individual poet and a confrontational style to put Irwin in an awkward position.
Again Bennett uses repetition of a question to stress the build up to the desired answer. Dakin has obviously got extremely close to the wire here and he knows exactly how manipulative he is. Obtaining the knowledge that Irwin is also homosexual like Hector and having a strong suggestion that Dakin is the object of his fantasy, Dakin uses this to gain heavy control over Irwin. “Like Mr. Hector’s lessons then, sir. They’re a waste of time too. ” This is implying that Irwin’s lessons are a waste of time, suggesting that Irwin and Hector have more factors in common than expected.
Using short sentence places a feeling of higher control from Dakin. He has gained Irwin’s lust and knowing this Dakin has decided to hurt his teacher, reiterating that he does not take love seriously. To conclude, Dakin’s arrogance and control attracts the lust of not only love sick Posner but also Fiona the secretary and Irwin. As the play develops it seems his confidence and control over certain characters increases. This further signifies the contrasting sexual confidence of Dakin to the sexual confusion to the many individuals around him.