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Compare and contrast the role of two minor characters from two different plays.

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Introduction

Compare and contrast the role of two minor characters from two different plays In the play Twelfth Night Maria is a waiting gentlewoman for Lady Olivia. She mainly plays the part of a catalyst and shows an interest in playing jokes particularly on Malvolio. Another waiting gentlewoman is Charmian in the play Antony and Cleopatra. She can best be described as a loyal servant and friend to Cleopatra. Both of these women play significant roles in their respective plays although they do not serve for the same purpose. Maria role in Twelfth night is to stir up trouble. Although she is a servant to Olivia she is not genuinely thinking of Olivia when she tries to enforce the rules. ...read more.

Middle

Charmian and Maria both have the same duty to serve their Lady but the importance of each as a waiting gentlewoman is different. Olivia and Cleopatra are both in the last act of their respective plays but in Twelfth Night, Maria is no where to be seen. Most of the cast comes on stage but Maria never does. In Antony and Cleopatra, Charmian is on stage with Cleopatra for almost the whole last act. This suggests the function Shakespeare intended for the two characters was very different. Charmian was mainly meant to be a supporting character for Cleopatra. This is able to be seen in scenes such as Act I Scene 5 where Cleopatra and Charmian have a friendly conversation in which they joke around about men. ...read more.

Conclusion

During Twelfth Night, Maria is in many scenes alone with people other than Olivia. It gives the impression that she is sneaking around behind Olivia's back or is neglecting her. This is -Olivia's period of mourning yet Maria is not with her for a large amount of the play. Alternitavly, Charmian is never in a scene without Cleopatra being there too. Even in the final moments of her life Cleopatra's body is next to her (Act V Sc. 2 Lines 310-328). The characters of Charmian and Maria differ in their roles, amount of duty that they have to their superiors, interaction with other characters, how much, when, where, and with whom they appear on stage. Although they are both gentlewomen their characters are extremely different and serve a unique purpose in each play. ...read more.

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