The main characteristic that all the Top Girls characters have in common is that they are female. In addition, as suggested by the title, they all excel in some way.
Caryl Churchill also suggests some parallels between the historical figures and the contemporary ones. The playwright encourages the reader or viewer to investigate the cost of making it to the “top” and the meaning of success in life as well as a career. Joyce wanted to be a good sister and adoptive mother, but her efforts to help her sister and niece generated neither the satisfaction nor the gratitude she expected. Joyce evokes comparison to the historical figure of Dull Gret, a heroic mother. In terms of combined ambition and service to a cause, Pope Joan may be compared with Marlene.
(The entire section contains 2 answers and 392 words.)