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English Wlit: Antigone and Visit

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Introduction

An audience encountering an unfamiliar story pays more attention to the story than to its treatment; of necessity, then, such a play must be richer in detail and circumstances than one with a well-known story line. - Friedrich Durrenmatt, Selected Writings Vol. 3 The Plot is the first principle, the most important feature of tragedy. In his Poetics Aristotle states that, tragedies where the outcome depends on a tightly constructed cause-and-effect chain of actions are superior to those that depend primarily on the character of the protagonist. Conflicts originate in the characters' wrestling with forces and result in moving the main action of the play forward. The protagonists of Jean Anouilh's Antigone and August Strindberg's Miss Julie break all stereotypical gender prototypes. Keeping this context in mind, one realizes that the conflicts and tensions within Antigone and Miss Julie and their societal norms, lie at the heart of these two innovative theatrical masterpieces. In these Tragedies, the authors have used, well defined gender conflicts which have definitely helped in advancing the plot, giving the characters reasons for their actions and bringing about unity of action1, an integral part of a Classical Plot structure. The political backdrop of Antigone is the French Resistance Movement. ...read more.

Middle

The "Chorus", in the form of the other servants in Miss Julie sings a song about Miss Julie which too highlights gender conflict. The song seems to foreshadow the sexual relation that Jean and Julie share later. Similarly in Antigone, the chorus breaks the fourth wall 16 with the use of Metatheatre. The didascalia in Miss Julie and the Chorus in Antigone also help in creating an alienation effect17by using pantomimes and soliloquies respectively, giving the audience a chance to reflect upon the events occurred so far more dispassionately thus reducing the impact of catharsis. However, at the same time, they also further the plot movement by informing the audience about events off stage or by commenting upon recent events. Other themes in the plays also help in highlighting the gender conflict. The theme of Feminism in Antigone evident when Ismene states that "it's alright for men to die for their ideas"18 shows gender conflict. This is also predominant in Miss Julie where the class conflict gives rise to Gender conflict after the climax thus moving the plot forward. Elements of Naturalism and Existentialism are clearly evident in Miss Julie and Antigone respectively. The Preface of Miss Julie tells us how Julie's mother was responsible for her misogyny hence she was a product of her nature and nurture. ...read more.

Conclusion

12 A dramatic surprise (source-wordnet.princeton.edu). (Accessed on 2nd June, 2009.) 13 Recognition or discovery, a change from ignorance to knowledge. According to Aristotle, a feature of tragedy, but common in comedy too. (source- - Stevens, Anthony -How plays tell stories-Studying drama as literature) . (Accessed on 2nd June, 2009.) 14 Brustein, Robert, The Theatre of Revolt , Metheun and Co. ltd , Great Britain 1965 p 115. (Accessed on 5nd October, 2009.) 15 Anouilh, Jean. Antigone. Trans. Barbara Bray. London: Methuen, 2000.p 46.(Accessed on June 20th,2009.) 16 An imaginary plane which separates the staged action from the audience as if it were a wall. . (source- - Stevens, Anthony -How plays tell stories-Studying drama as literature).(Accessed on 5th June, 2009.) 17 A method used by which the audience is hindered from simply identifying itself with the characters in the play. Acceptance or rejection of their actions and utterances was meant to take place on a conscious plane, instead of, as hitherto, in the audience's subconscious.(source- Brecht on Theatre- The Development of an Aesthetic.) (Accessed on 5th June, 2009.) 18 Anouilh, Jean. Antigone. Trans. Barbara Bray. London: Methuen, 2000.p5. (Accessed on 5th June, 2009.) 19 , Jean. Antigone. Trans. Barbara Bray. London: Methuen, 2000.p57. (Accessed on 5th October, 2009.) 20 A person marked by convention or conformity to customs or rules or styles. (source-wordnet.princeton.edu) .(Accessed on June 20th,2009.) ?? ?? ?? ?? 1 ...read more.

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