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Difference in roles of female protaginists and how roles of minor charchters enhance their roles in antiggone and visit.

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"A lock cannot be unlocked without the right key that fits into the hole."1 Many books written by famous authors follow the concept of a lock-and-key. The major characters lead the story while the minor characters just add the key elements to it which highlight certain qualities and aspects in the protagonist2. The term foil3 is primarily used for the minor characters who play an important role to enhance the role of the protagonist. Minor characters are the intense-situation makers that help the reader interpret situations that the writer could not express through their writing or with the help of the protagonist. Claire Zachanassian and Alfred Ill in The Visit and Antigone in Antigone play the major characters in contrast to the minor characters played by the husbands, the butler, the Guelleners, Haemon, Ismene and the nurse in the respective texts. My essay will further elaborate on the point of how the roles of minor characters enhance the role of the protagonist. A famous critic, Kurt J.Fickert, once said, "There's wit and wisdom in Durrenmatt's names". The names of the characters in The Visit are very symbolic. Each of them depicts what the personality of each character is going to be like. Coming to the female protagonist of this text, Claire Zachanassian, her name sounds Greek and can be interpreted as the name of a Greek Goddess, of perhaps Death, as it tells us that she has come to Guellen to kill someone. ...read more.


She tells him that she 'would' have been his wife and that she 'would' have been a really good mother and they 'would' have had a little boy, but he didn't get the hint in the beginning. She talks in past perfect tenses indicating that all these things 'would' have happened but since she is planning to take such a major step, she doesn't see it happening ever. There is a lot of foreshadowing as well in the text which depicts that she and Haemon can never be together as she will be dying soon. Their love for each other was so pure and true that he even tried and convinced his father, Creon, not to kill her. But when he couldn't succeed in that he decided to bury himself along with her. He later found out that she had already hung herself and finally decided to plunge his sword into his own chest and die. The difference in the behaviors of Antigone and Claire towards their sweethearts is very evident. Antigone was mentally, emotionally and physically attached to Haemon while Claire didn't care less whether there were people around or no and continued to ill-treat her husbands. They were merely like her puppets that did exactly what she wanted, how she wanted and when she wanted. Along with being an uncaring wife, Claire was also very influential in nature. ...read more.


Stronger than the dark itself, full of crazy shrieks that no one listens to. Stronger than death. Hold my hand, like when you used to come and sit by my bed."6 This quote by Antigone shows us the child-like behavior that is still present in her though she is engaged to be married. The nurse and she have conversations where it is clearly shown how she is always so concerned about her and how she knows when something is bothering her "dove". Her nurse still tucks her into bed and showers her with the love and affection that a ten year old would expect. She talks to her in a very subtle tone and pampers her a lot too. It is also very evident from their conversations that they both are equally very fond of each other and love being around each other. Keeping all the above points in mind we can thus conclude that Antigone and Claire were two women who had completely different ideals and didn't believe in the same things. They both had different personalities and treated their respective sweethearts in completely different manners. The minor characters such as the husbands and Roby and Toby in The Visit and Haemon and the nurse in Antigone brought about various aspects in the protagonists of the plays and enhanced their characters even more. Hence we can finally say that the minor characters do add the key elements in the play which make the play more interesting for the reader and helps maintain the unity of effect. ...read more.

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