Describe the ways the character of Isobel serves as a unifying device, and chart her progress through the course of the play, Lion in the Streets by Judith Thompson.

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durbanville eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Lion in the Streets, Isobel is murdered as an eight year old girl who, due to her own trauma and death, is forced, in the form of a ghost, to walk the streets in anguish, looking for a way "home" and ultimately looking to find her peace by avenging her death, thereby allowing her to rest in heaven.

Each of the characters Isobel is exposed to has their own personal hell to deal with and for some the issues are almost insurmountable. Isobel, in a pedestrian-like state links each character such as they reside in the "urban jungle," by observing them and linking each individual setting top the next.

There is an inescapable connection between the characters as they are all part of the nightmare and even though they many exist within different social structures, no amount of superiority will protect them from the evil that pervades  humanity and that exists within each of them on some level.  

Isobel provides the link for the audience who then share her journey as she searches for someone to take her home but realises that their own lives consume them. No one really understands their lives; they just try to exist within them, thereby perpetuating the cycle of violence, mistrust and misunderstanding. Isobel thus tries to save them from themselves but is ineffective in stopping this pattern.

The recognition of her own part in the cycle of life is, for Isobel, what releases her from her pain. Her forgiveness and the apparent reintergration of her murderer into society reveal the endless possibilites that do in fact exist - if only others could see that.