Daughters of Heaven: A Law and Literature Analysis
This paper conducts a law and literature review of the play Daughters of Heaven by Michelanne Forster. The text portrays the murder of Honora Rieper by Pauline Parker and Juliet Hulme, and the trial that ensued. This paper explores the play’s depiction of the insanity defence in light of the law of the time and in the context of Christchurch society of the time. The social influence on the application and interpretation of the law is explored via the character of Bridget in particular, who is clearly influenced by Forster’s own views. Forster does not make an explicit ‘good or bad’ judgment on the law, but her shock and disbelief of the events is evident throughout the text. Her use of legal concepts is predominantly for entertainment purposes, and as such is mostly basic and undetailed. This does not, however, detract from Daughters of Heaven from being a dramatically gripping and compelling work.