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Examine the characterization of the central characters in The Outsider and Antigone and how this is important to the texts as a whole?

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Introduction

World Literature Assignment 1 English A1 Higher Level Examine the characterization of the central characters in The Outsider and Antigone and how this is important to the texts as a whole? Examine the characterization of the central characters in The Outsider and Antigone and how this is important to the texts as a whole? Robert Ludlum commented that "Characterization is integral to the theatrical experience." 1 This rings true in the play Antigone, written by Jean Anouilh, and can be extended to the novel, The Outsider by Albert Camus, since both authors use characterization to important effect. Their manipulation of style, foils, imagery and action to typify the central characters - Meursault and Antigone - intends to disallow emotional attachment to the protagonists. This disassociation is important to both texts because it enables a more objective exploration of the characters predicament. Camus uses an indirect style of characterization when crafting Meursault; style, imagery and action have to be independently synthesized by the reader to form an audience dependent understanding of the "inexplicable protagonist" 2. From the outset Camus writes using a direct, simple uncomplicated style and colloquially familiar register. Meursault describes sex, an intensely passionate experience "She had her leg against mine, and I was fondling her breasts... I kissed her, but badly. Afterwards she came back to my place." 3 yet the imagery is literal, his tone inexpressive, detached and indifferent. ...read more.

Middle

The juxtaposition culminates during Creon's 'Ship of State' where he successively strips Antigone's act of its religious, political, moral and filial trappings, soliciting Antigone to abandon her gratuitous rebellion in favor of banal conventional happiness. To Creon, one makes his own happiness, the happiness inherent in a grasped tool, success, marriage and family. Antigone is "...disgusted with your happiness! With your life that must go on come what may... a humdrum happiness... I want everything of life... Total; complete. Otherwise I reject it... I want to die!" 13 Against all human prohibitions, and without reasonable cause, she insists on burying her brother even to the point of her own death. Like her father Oedipus, "Her insistence on her desire beyond the limits of reason render her ugly, abject, tabooed. In refusing to cede it, she moves outside the human community." 14Anouilh further reinforces this point by associating her with vivid natural imagery of such acuity it is almost otherworldly, like Antigone herself. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Anouilh and Camus, having used dissimilar techniques of characterization when crafting Antigone and Meursault, nevertheless have created protagonists who are ostensibly contrasting, but internally homogeneous. Antigone and Meursault share a fundamental inner characteristic, they are seekers of purity. When society threatens to compromise that purity both choose to transcend the challenge, thereby accepting death. Rejection of typical values ostracizes both from society and estranges from the audience. ...read more.

Conclusion

Both reject conventional happiness: in doing so Meursault appreciates an inherently absurd world surrounding him while Camus himself eloquently summarized the dilemma presented by Anouilh as "Antigone is right, but Creon is not wrong". They both become strangers, outsiders to their community and alienated from their audience. This characterization becomes vital to both texts as the author's use it to distance us from an emotional attachment to the individual. By introducing likable and unfavorable characteristics as counterpoint within the individual they neutralize the ability of the audience to associate and empathize with the protagonists. The authors wish us to assess Meursault's and Antigone's respective predicaments in relation to ourselves without the subjective baggage of emotional attachment. 1 Robert Ludlum interview with book-reporter.com, 1997 2 Sartre, J. (1955) Literary and Philosophical Essays of Jean-Paul Sartre. Page 111 3 Camus, A. (1942) The Outsider. Page 24 4 Camus, A. (1942) The Outsider. Page 9 5 Camus, A. (1942) The Outsider. Page 30 6 Scherr, A. (2001) Explicator 58.3. Page 151 7 Girard, R. (1964) Camus Stranger Retried. Page 528 8 Anouilh, J. (1987) Antigone. Page 2 9 Anouilh, J. (1987) Antigone. Page 9 10 http://www.liverpoolnetworktheatre.org.uk/antig1.htm. Retrieved 15/02/09 11 Anouilh, J. (1987) Antigone. Page 6 12 Anouilh, J. (1987) Antigone. Page 14 13 Anouilh, J. (1987) Antigone. Page 47 14 http://www.sparknotes.com/drama/antigone/canalysis.html. Retrieved 01/02/09 15 Sartre, J. (1955) Literary and Philosophical Essays of Jean-Paul Sartre. 16 Sartre, J. (1955) Literary and Philosophical Essays of Jean-Paul Sartre. 17 Meyers, J. (2004) Somerset Maugham: A life ?? ?? ?? ?? ...read more.

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