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What is the role of children in "Medea" and "The Just

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World Literature Assignment 1 The comparison of the texts Medea by Euripides and The Just by Albert Camus Essay Title: What is the role of children in "Medea" and "The Just"? By: Mateusz Litewski What is the role of children in "Medea" and "The Just"? Children play a very important part in both texts, Medea and The Just. Both playwrights make use of them in different ways, making them crucial in setting the mood, evoking sympathy, as well as to present characters in the play. One of the main roles of children in both texts is to evoke sympathy of the reader or the audience. It must be underlined that plays were made to be watched rather than to be read, so we should talk here about an audience. This is due to the fact that it is a part of human nature to be compassionate to children. Primarily we associate them with innocence. Children are almost always associated with being pure and clean, we think of them as people that haven't lived long enough to dirty themselves with sin and misdeed and therefore don't deserve anything bad to happen to them. In both texts children are shown to fit the above description and therefore provoke the feelings and emotions that I discussed. The appeal for sympathy is mainly due to the innocent portrayal of the children. ...read more.


This sacrifice that Medea has done has cost her dearly and has been egoistically used by Jason, who has abandoned her, in order to marry the daughter of Creon, the king of Corinth. Medea, wants revenge and fairness for the harm that has been done to her. However, when we are presented with Medea's plan of revenge, we begin to see Medea in a different light. We find that she is ready to sacrifice everything (even the lives of her own children) in order to make the revenge perfect. This allows for further sympathy with the children, due to their unawareness of the horrible fate that awaits them and the lack of a possibility to protect themselves. This cruelty and blind seeking of revenge done by Medea allows us to form an impression and opinion towards her. The children play, in both texts, a symbol- the 'thin red line', that separates the good from the evil. Both Yanek and Medea cross the line. The use of children in the texts and the main characters' behaviour towards the children make us feel a certain way towards their perpetrators. This applies to Medea, who we find repulsive and evil because of her ruthlessness, her lack of limits and boundaries that could possibly stop her and her complete determination to achieve her goal at all costs. ...read more.


This contrast becomes very visible, exactly by the use of children, and characters' attitude towards them. Stepan seems to be a ruthless revolutionary, only concerned with orders and carrying them out. We usually don't sympathise with people who don't like children, seeing them as insensitive and numb. Yanek, however, is a poet with a romantic soul that believes in the revolution and the righteousness of it. He believes that by saving the lives of those children, he himself preserved his innocence, rather than becoming a ruthless murderer, as that is the enemy they are fighting. "I have chosen death to prevent murder from triumphing in the world... I have chosen to be innocent", he says to Stepan, after being faced with numerous accusations and insults. His desire to preserve the life of the innocent is admirable and seizes the audience's sympathy. To summarise, the roles of children in Medea and The Just, can be shortly listed. Firstly, it is to provoke sympathy of the audience towards them, make us associate us with them and what concerns them. They also allow the audience to come to opinions on different characters in the play and to look at them from different points of view. The situation and context that the children are in provoke thought and questions to arise in the minds of the spectators. Lastly, they allow us to notice the tragedy of the events we see on stage. WORD COUNT: 1408 words ...read more.

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