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How do the characters of Antigone in Anouilh's play Antigone and Medea from Euripides's play Medea cope with the competition from other more beautiful and socially successful women?

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Introduction

� How do the characters of Antigone in Anouilh's play Antigone and Medea from Euripides's play Medea cope with the competition from other more beautiful and socially successful women? Both of the plays Medea and Antigone have tragic themes and their main characters are women who find themselves unhappy and so decide to act on behalf of these feelings. In both cases the result is a climax at the end of the play in the form of several deaths. One of the main reasons they decide to act is because they find it difficult to cope with competition of other women. Both Jean Anouilh in his play Antigone and Euripides in his play Medea have based their tragic plots on the roles of jealousy and spite and the extremes they can make a person go to. In my analysis I will first look at the effects competition has on both Medea and Antigone, in particular jealousy. After this, I will discus the aspirations both women have as a result of feeling jealous and how other characters in the play see them. Finally I will look at how the two characters act on impulse of their jealousy and compare what it leads to in each play. ...read more.

Middle

Antigone's lust for beauty could be a result of her hunger for attention and a more acknowledged position in the society she lives in. On the other hand, Medea's aspirations seem to be more centred and thought through. The first impression she gives us is that her desires all tend towards revenge. From very early on in the play Euripides shows her as a determined woman who wants to turn her jealousy and pain into an act of revenge, which will hurt Jason. When she realizes Jason has chosen a woman who is better than her, especially in social ranking as well as is younger in age, she doesn't try to compete. Unlike Anouilh, Euripides bases Medea's jealousy on a more emotional side. She is given the feeling of failure, defeat and humiliation as well as loss of pride and love. She is jealous of Jason's new wife, however more than anything else, she envies the fact Jason desires and lusts for her. "As you linger here away from home, desire for the girl you have just married overwhelms you." 5 Here we can see more emphasis is given on the fact she hates the idea of Jason having another women who has replaced her position. ...read more.

Conclusion

Medea wishes not to turn her suffering out on herself. Instead she decides to avenge herself on Jason and come out of their quarrel as the 'winner'. Her jealousy leads to her decision to kill several people, including her own children! This contradicts with the consequences of Antigone's actions. She doesn't kill anyone, but dies from her own wish. Both plays share a common theme of jealousy, however there are different intentions of the authors in the way they choose to use jealousy to develop their play. Anouilh uses Antigone's rather childish jealousy to lead the play to a climax of her death and so inflicts feelings of sympathy in the viewers, creating a sad atmosphere with a sense of unnecessary loss. On the other hand Euripides uses jealousy as a means to lead his character Medea to commit murder of four people and take the plot to a very dramatic finish. Both authors have succeeded to portray their heroines as in able to cope with the competition of other women in terms of beauty and social status, primarily through the impetuosity and impulsiveness that the heroines have been created to display. This has allowed the authors to use them in their aim to achieve powerful climaxes in their plays, where the heroine's actions result in multiple deaths. ...read more.

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