“They’ve damaged your uniqueness”: Technology as a Source of Dystopia in Caryl Churchill’s A Number


  • Maysoon Taher Muhi, (PhD) College of Education for Women \University of Baghdad




biotechnology; dehumanization; domination; dystopia; individuality


This study focuses on the impact of technology on creating a dystopian world as presented by the English playwright Caryl Churchill in her play A Number (2002). This dramatic work came as a reaction to the most crucial and valuable turning point in the scientific achievements of human engineering, namely, the cloning of the sheep called Dolly. Therefore, A Number is a play that presents an analytical stage for imagining the biotechnological and scientific future. This dramatic vignette captures the playwright’s fears towards the abnormal progress of technology and science and how far such technological progress affects human relationships and identity. It also portrays how technological progress results in the feeling of a lack of ‘uniqueness’ and potential psychological problems. It shows that biotechnological attempts at human cloning are the heights of science irresponsibility. Human beings desire to have children, but there are limits to this desire. It should not include whatever kind of technology is available to meet such desires. The playwright, through her dramatic characters Salter, B1, B2 and Michael Black, draws a ‘near’ futuristic world in which the misuse of technology raises ethical, scientific, medical and legal


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