A Play “Trifles” by Susan Glaspell Critical Essay
Written by Susan Glaspell, Trifles is a play, based on a true occurrence in Iowa. The author focuses on the development of the both the minor and major characters. Through the development of the characters, Glaspell vividly describes their stereotypes.
In Glaspell’s play, Minnie Wright exhibits the role of a round character. During her youth days, she is always a happy, cheerful, and social songstress. Additionally, her wardrobe consists of bright colored clothes that made her outstanding among other girls. Unfortunately, after Mr. Wright married her, she drastically changed her behavior. Mrs. Hale describes her as “sweet, pretty, timid and fluttery but all the characters disappeared after marriage” (Glaspell Para. 5).
On the other hand, Minnie’s husband is tyrannical, abrasive, domineering and aweless, a fact that Minnie respects during her thirty years of marriage. However, from the blues, Mr. Wright dies or killed at night depending on one’s perspective. Surprisingly, Minnie confesses that someone strangled her husband without her noticing. Unfortunately, the Sheriff and the attorney disapprove her claims and choose to imprison her as the prime suspect. After critical investigations, the law convicts her of murder.
Minnie has a dynamic character that makes her to adapt to the prevailing situation. Although she is submissive to her husband, she turns a murderer after tolerating her husband’s unbecoming behavior. One moment of rage and bitterness from her husband is enough to kill him and this ability o change depending on the prevailing situation underscores roundness in character development.
John Wright is a powerful, rough and crude husband; he turns his cheerful wife to a sad and antisocial woman. However, one day his wife strangles him with a rope killing him instantly. The roundness in Mr. Wright’s character comes out clearly given the fact that at one point he is strong, abrasive and ‘masculine’ but she dies in the hands of one considered weak. Therefore, in essence, Mr. Wright changes from a strong character to a weak one and this defines the roundness of his character.
On the other hand, George Henderson; the county attorney, represents one of the flat characters; characters who remain rigid throughout a story; no change of thought or persona. During the murder of Mr. Wright, he comes to the scene to carry out an investigation. He is a tough and bully but dismisses the kitchen as a source of evidence of the murder. Ironically, he concentrates in the bedroom and barn places which belong to men.
Although he convicts Mrs. Wright as the murder, he is unable to discover solid evidences apparently evident in the kitchen. His character is stagnant he neither changes his behavior nor listens to women. Similarly, Henry Peters is a Sheriff who accompanies the attorney in the murder investigation.
However, just like Henry, he overlooks some of the important places that might give evidence about the murder case. Additionally, his contemptuous nature comes into limelight when he kicks some items in the house disapproving them as source of evidence. He concentrates in the bedroom to search for evidence and his rigidness passes him for a flat character.
There is a high degree of gender and culture stereotyping in the play. Mr. Wright follows the society culture of being domineering especially to women. The role of women is in the kitchen and they are not supposed to talk before men. Mrs. Wright ends up losing her happiness and cheerful nature because she is a submissive woman. On the other hand, the sheriff and attorney do not involve the women in the murder cases.
They dismiss a woman’s place like the kitchen and concentrate in the bedroom. Similarly, Clarkson observes that women like Mrs. Hale remain silent when they discover the box-containing evidence because the society demands such of them (286). In summary, Mr. and Mrs. Wright are the round characters in the play; their characters are dynamic hence changes depending on the situation at Hand. On the other hand, the flat characters include the law enforcers and Mr. Hale.
Clarkson, Suzy. “Silent Justice in a Different Key: Glaspell’s Trifles.” The MidwestQuarterly 44.6 (2003): 282-290.
Glaspell, Susan. Trifles, N.d. Web.
Othello by William Shakespeare Essay
The drama, Othello, is considered as one of Shakespeare’s great catastrophe themed plays and its uniqueness is evident in the sense that it is set in a private world in which its events center on the passions and personal lives of its main characters. This is a major distinguishing feature of this play as the other catastrophe plays are set against a backdrop of affairs of state that echoes universal human needs.
Written in 1604, Shakespeare adapted the plot of the drama from 16th century Italian dramatist and novelist Giraldi Cinthio’s Gli Hecatommithi and created the play’s ominous events without incorporating subplots or humor to relieve the tension (Mussari, 39). Even though it is narrow in scope, the play is filled with tightly constructed tragedies. An analysis of the play reveals that it is one of Shakespeare’s most touching and the most agonizing plays.
The characters in the play, through their different behaviors, assist in establishing the plot of the story. Othello, an eloquent and physically fit person is considered as the protagonist and hero of the play; however, in spite of his elevated status, he is nonetheless an easy prey to insecurities due to his age, his life as a general of the armies of Venice, and his race.
The Moor, as most of the people referred to him, controls every move in the play. His character is that of a dark man, not only because of his race, but also due to the mystery of his entire personality.
Iago is a twenty-eight years old young man who is the villain of the play. He is presented as a collection of unresolved puzzles and he is the character who basically makes the plot of the story to move.
He participates actively in the development of the plot and everything he says is a cause for anxiety. Iago is a dominant force in the play who gives first-hand instruction to others, especially to Othello. Notably, Iago ensured that Othello knew the unfaithfulness of his young and beautiful wife, Desdemona, who got married to him secretly before the start of the play.
In developing the character of Iago, the writer borrowed from the Biblical account in which God told Moses that he is “I am whom I am” (Ex. 3:14). This implies that Iago’s self-depiction as “I am not whom I am” is the direct opposite of the character of God; therefore, Iago’s evil ways make him to be the devil in the play who tells lies and makes empty promises.
In Othello, irony plays a significant role as it develops suspense and increases the interest of the readers in the story. Shakespeare used three types of irony in the play, which are situational, verbal, and dramatic ironies to make the story to be more enjoyable. An example of situational irony is that at the culmination of the play, Cassio was not murdered regardless of the fact that he was the one that Iago wanted dead at the beginning of the story.
In fact, Cassio received a promotion in his position and Iago never achieved what he wanted to do; that is, to take Cassio’s place in the military. Another example of situational irony is depicted in the lives of Othello and Iago. Although they have a good reputation, their lives do not depict this. Notably, they treat their wives miserably despite their innocence and ultimately kill them.
Shakespeare’s use of verbal irony in the play incorporates some aspects of humor in it. Othello usually said things that were not consistent with the evil character of Iago:”Honest Iago . “(Shakespeare, 43), ”I know, Iago, Thy honesty and love …”(Shakespeare, 86). This depicts the confidence that Othello erroneously placed on his “best friend,” even though he was constantly saying lies and doing other evils.
Lastly, Shakespeare used dramatic irony in the play to make it more captivating by introducing something that the audience knows about while the characters are not aware of. A notable example that is evident all through the story is the fact that the audience is aware that Desdemona is innocent and that Iago is a wicked man whereas Othello is not aware of these things.
The major themes in the play are race, misrepresentation, and good versus evil. Race is an essential theme in the play because it dictates how people perceive Othello, a black military general, and it also determines what Othello thinks of himself as a rough outsider (Croft, 5). Othello’s status as a black-skinned foreigner makes him very self-conscious. And, it also makes him to put extra effort so as to be perceived as equal to the white individuals around him.
As mentioned earlier, misrepresentation is depicted in the sense that Iago appears to be a “good man” whereas he is in fact a wolf in sheep’s clothing. The theme of good versus evil is depicted in Iago’s consistent battle against the supremacy of Othello as well as of other characters who he considers as a threat to him. Although he succeeded to some extent, his actions are revealed as the play ends and he gets his due punishment.
In conclusion, Othello is one of Shakespeare’s most touching and agonizing plays because of its rich content. Shakespeare cleverly incorporated various characters to depict his intent of writing the play. As such, the themes of race, misrepresentation, and good versus evil are notably portrayed in the play.
Croft, Steven. Othello. Cheltenham : Nelson Thornes, 2004. Print.
Mussari, Mark. Othello. New York: Marshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2008. Print.
Shakespeare, William. The Tragedy of Othello, Moor of Venice. Teddington: Echo Library, 2007. Print.
Character of Iago in “Othello” by Shakespeare Analysis Essay
The essay is a critical examination of the character of Iago in the play Othello written by Shakespeare. In literature there is always a direct link between characterization and theme development. Othello deemed to be written in 1603 revolves around four main characters; Iago Othello, Desdemona wife to a Moorish general, Cassio and the general.
The themes of the play are honesty, love, misrepresentation, self knowledge, magic, racism, oppression, pride, appearance and reality, revenge, betrayal and jealousy. For instance, in case of honesty Iago is termed “honest” racism is depicted when Othello is termed “the black with thick lips.”
Most of Shakespeare readers have painted Iago to be the most heinous and villain character of all time. He is capable of manipulating those around him propelling him to achieve his desires. For this reason, he is a character that is most loved to hate. Additionally he is the most purely malevolent character engaging in most wrongdoings.
To under stand the characters of Iago, it would be rational to clearly define the term character; in literature it has been thought of as the attributed or characteristics given to subjects used in a play, poem, novels, playwrights as well as other literature by the author to help pass across or communicate certain themes.
It is ironical that Iago is referred to as honest person. A closer examination of his deeds and motives paint him another character. However, majority of other characters are not yet aware of his deceitful and selfish character. Due to this almost all characters are in a crisis of determining who and who not to trust.
Most trust the wrong person, Iago which lead to downfall of various characters. For instance Othello said “…my ancient; a man he is of honesty and trust. To this conveyance I assign my wife” (Shakespeare 199) in reference to Iago.
It is worth mentioning here that it is this attributes that he possessed that made him successful in manipulating other characters painting him to be a strong and compelling character. Through it, he is capable of convincing Othello that his wife Emilia had and a fair. This was accomplished by him taking a handkerchief using it as evidence. It is worth noting that being a solder and always siding with Othello, Iago turns out to be a trusted advisor to Othello.
From the on set of the play, Iago complains that Cassio unfairly was promoted instead of him, due to this he plans to make both Cassio and Othello pay for this. He proclaimed himself to be an honest and trustworthy person, “Touch me not so near. / I had rather have this tongue cut from my mouth / than it should do offense to Michael Cassio; Yet I persuade myself to speak the truth / shall nothing wrong him.” (Shakespeare 263).Thus everything he said seemed to be thought to be nothing but the truth.
Another major character that makes audiences love to hate him is being vengeful. It is apparent from the onset of the play that intends to revenge against anybody for instance Othello, Desdemona, Cassio, Emilia among others. He seems to gain pleasure when others are undergoing pain as well as damage as results of his actions.
He first made Othello believe that his wife Desdemona had a love affair with Cassio. Iago did this by manipulating his wife (Emilia) wittily to take a handkerchief given to Desdemona by Othello, once in his possession; he told Othello that he had seen it being possessed by Cassio.
To prove things beyond doubt, with great skill, he arranged a conversation between Cassio and Bianca and carefully position Othello so that he thinks Cassio is discussing his wife. Additionally, in Act I, Scene III “Look to her, Moor, if thou hast eyes to see: She has deceived her father and may thee.” (Shakespeare 194) Warns Brabantino, this statement is used by Iago to remind Othello that his wife’s father said she might betray him.
Additionally, his manipulative characteristic is depicted when convinced Roderigo a friend to side with him. Iago uses his deceitful and treacherous character in making the later hold the opinion that after making Othello go, he will win the affection of Desdemona, Othello’s wife only when he supports his plans which he did not decline.
It is no doubt that Iago is a jealous individual. This coupled with the fact that he has desire for fellow men make him hate women. This can this be attributed to the fact that he killed his own wife. Additionally, he is not happy considering the fact that he is passed in ranks. For this he carries a heavy heart and promises to revenge which he eventually did.
This was accomplished when he plan a fight between his ally Roderigo and Cassio; he took the chance to kill Cassio on the basis that the victim double crossed his friend. The character of jealous is what mainly drove him to be vengeful.
Iago can also be as not being very creative. Although he managed to put on a face of ‘honesty’ he failed to change tact when things seemed work against him. His downfall can be attributed to sticking to his plans despite the fact that it was obvious that he was not capable of seeing his own destruction and if he could see, it seemed that he just ignored it “Dull not device by coldness and delay” (Shakespeare 231).
Iago is also seen to be a funny character. In this scene, Iago can be said to have winked at the audiences while revealing his wits, skills and knowledge of manipulation. Lastly and more importantly, although Iago looked to be scheming person who is not a coward, towards the end of the play, he is seen as being a coward. Killing his wife manifests this.
From the review of the character of Iago in the play Othello by Shakespeare, it is evident that he is the one character that ‘successfully’ plays the villain and most of the audiences and readers would love to hate him. Among the characters that clearly define Iago are; he is vengeful jealous, funny, ‘honest’, manipulative, coward and lacks creativity.
For instance he failed seeing his own downfall and change tact, he went an extra mile making others suffer or completely damaged. Using his deceitful skills he destroys the relationship between Othello and his wife, kills Cassio for his own selfish interest, and kills his wife. It is definitely through him that we Shakespeare manages to bring out various themes such as revenge, jealous and betrayal.
Shakespeare, William. Four Tragedies: Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth. New York: Bantam Books, 1988. Print.
Oedipus the King Essay
‘Oedipus the King’ is a play written by Sophocles in Ancient Greek at around 430 B.C. set in a fabulous past of the ancient Greek. Throughout the play, the king is determined to understand several issues about the community and himself.
As a result, he seeks help from the Theban chorus; Tiresias, the blind prophet; Creon, his brother in-law; Jocasta, the Oedipus wife and the shepherd. Throughout the play, conflict stands out as the main theme as exposited by exploring the three elements of conflict from the play viz. man versus man, man versus himself and man versus nature.
Man versus man conflict
A conflict exists between the king and the prophet Tiresias. The play begins by investigation into the cause of death of Laius, the former Theban king. When the Oedipus King seeks advice from the prophet Tiresias, to his surprise, the prophet tells him that Oedipus was responsible for the murderer of Laius.
In disbelief, the King becomes annoyed with Tiresias and they end up into a heated argument. The king blames the prophet for accusing him for the murder (Sophocles 306). While the King maintains his innocence, Tiresias holds that the murderer of Laius is a Theban citizen whom they have a blood relationship. The manner in which Tiresias leaves the palace evidences unhidden conflict between him and the Oedipus King.
In addition, the king is in conflict with his brother in-law, Creon. When the prophet accuses Oedipus for the murder, the king blames Creon for masterminding the accusations. The king believes that Creon is determined to undermine him. As a result, the king calls for Creon’s execution.
Another conflict exists between Jocasta and the prophets. Jocasta believes that prophets are liars and the king should take none of their advice. “Listen and I’ll convince thee that no truth in these prophets” (Sophocles 316). This quote reveals that Jocasta does not believe in prophets any more. There is also conflict between the king and the shepherd. When the shepherd refuses to give information on murder, the king threatens to execute him.
Man versus nature
Theban community is in conflict with nature. Oedipus king is determined to fight the plague, which has affected the community. As Sophocles indicates in the Creon’s conversation with the king, the leadership of Theban community is investigating the cause of the plague: “Let me report then all what god declared.
King Phoebus bids us straightly extirpate Fell pollution that infests the land, and no more harbor an inveterate sore” (Sophocles 315). From this quotation, it is clear that the people of Theban are determined to fight to the end the plague that runs through the community.
As illustrated on the first scene, the priest and the Theban choir have also visited the palace to seek aid for the plague. The king gives them hope by noting that “but I grieve at once both for the general, myself and you” (Sophocles 267). To grieve in ancient Greek meant cooperation with the suffering. Plague is a natural disease and therefore fighting it evidences this kind of conflict.
Man versus himself
The king is in conflict with himself. The community expects exemplary behavior from their king, especially in such ancient setting. As the play illustrates, the king killed his father and slept with his mother. The king’s behavior is in conflict with the character of Oedipus king. It is therefore vivid that the king is in conflict with himself.
The shepherd is also in conflict with himself. Once requested to come and testify on the murder of Laius, he agrees and in fact provides some information to the king; however, after sometime, he begs to leave without further questions (Sophocles 300). This illustrates the shepherd’s conflict with himself.
The major conflict arises when the prophet accuses the Oedipus for the murder of the former king. Since the entire play revolves about the murder, it is therefore justifiable that conflict is the major theme in the play ‘Oedipus the King’. King’s conflict with the prophet and Creon illustrates man versus man conflict while the community’s battle with the plague evidences the man versus nature conflict. The king’s behavior is in conflict with what is expected of him thus underscoring the man versus man conflict.
Sophocles. “Oedipus the King.” The Collection. Trans. Francis Storr. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1912.
Shakespeare’s Othello, the Moor of Venice Research Paper
“Is Iago purely evil, or is Othello incredibly gullible? How does such a strong (or gullible) man become trapped in such plotting?”
Othello, the Moor of Venice is a tragic play written at around 1603 by William Shakespeare, which addresses the encounters of Othello, the protagonist. Othello is a Venetian military general and who falls prey of Iago’s devious schemes, which are triggered by jealousy, deceit and quest for power (Hundley 4).
Shakespeare’s Iago is amoral character who drafts devious plans to lure others into his vengeance mission. Equivocally, I ago is a significant character who participates greatly in Othello’s misfortune. He is also accountable for Emilia, Roderigo and protagonist deaths. He contributes to plot development in the play in that he relates to other characters significantly.
His most important role is to accomplish the tragedy of Othello, which brings out the themes of hatred, envy and vengeance. In addition, he distinguishes Othello’s character and that of Desdemona to expose dramatic irony for the audience to be occupied (Kolin 8).
Is Iago purely evil? Yes. His inherent evilness is seen when Iago makes friends to hate each other by taking advantage of their trust toward him. To attain his mission, he uses their worries and anxieties to “make the net that shall emesh them all” (Shakespeare II. iii. 321-2). His evil motives are mostly a soliloquy that are never attained and becomes forgotten entirely. His scheme is initiated when he desires Cassio’s position of lieutenancy, which he wanted to be his.
He is envious of him and claims that he deserves and will fit into that position. Therefore, he plots a scheme to deceive, rob and eventually kill Cassio to fit in his lieutenant position. He aspires to replace Cassio’s work as a lieutenant by taking advantage of Desdemona’s naivety. He dishonors Cassio by inciting him to finish Roderigo and free him the lieutenant position when he states that “Cassio, I love thee, But nevermore be officer of mine” (Shakespeare II.iii.242-244). As a result Cassio was become unaware of the outcome.
Iago’s devious plans persist when he tactfully makes Othello to believe that his wife, Desdemona, is cheating on him with Cassio even without any evidence to show for it. Iago accomplishes this mission by ensuring that Othello’s thoughts concentrates on the fact that he is being cheated on, an aspect that leads to his tragedy.
Othello instead fall into his scheme and his furry makes him hate his wife whom she doesn’t believe. Significantly, Iago awards Othello with the evil thought that he could kill his wife Desdemona, which will accomplish Iago’s vengeance mission (Hankey 5).
His devious plan is manifested when he claims that Iago had had an affair with Emilia, Iago’s life. To ascertain this fact, Othello points out that “And it is thought abroad that t’wixt my sheets/ He’s done my office” I know not if’t be true/ But I, for mere suspicion in that kind; / Will do as if for surety”(Shakespeare I.iii.381-385). Iago’s paranoia is tremendous to an extent that his insanity is portrayed when he deludes Othello to kill his own wife.
As if that is not enough, Iago robs his friend Roderigo. He uses the funds awarded to him by Roderigo to entice Desdemona. On noticing that Iago kept the money for himself, Roderigo makes threats to Iago and becomes furious about his actions. Unexpectedly, when Roderigo is informed of the scheme to entice Desdemona, his mind is eroded to forget about the money and instead, kill Cassio, whom Iago is envious of and is supposedly having an affair with Desdemona (Hankey 8).
These instances show that Iago has no conscious and therefore amoral, as depicted through his actions. He is deceptive to his wife and friends, which emphasize his evilness. He is tactful in carrying out his schemes, which however portrays his diabolical capability allowing him to erode his friends and his fife’s thoughts.
His intellectual ability is astonishing to the reader since he achieves and gets away with his devious schemes. He is able to win over other’s thoughts by targeting their desires through twisting, playing and eventually brainwashing their psychological power. These instances clearly portray Iago as having no conscience therefore, purely evil (Hundley 5).
Is Othello incredibly gullible? Yes. Othello on the other hand is a gullible character unlike Iago, who falls into the trap of Iago and falls into prey of his evil tactics. Othello’s character is dynamic having been a villain in the beginning and.
His jealousness is exposed after Iago deceives him to become vengeful and kill his wife. Othello angrily point out that “`Damn her, lewd minx! O, damn her, damn her! Come go with me part. I will withdraw To furnish me with some swift means of death. For the fair devil. Now are the my lieutenant’” (Shakespeare I. iii. 122).
This susceptibility and jealousness causes his tragedy. Othello’s weaknesses is exposed by the allegedly wife’s infidelity which he takes as being unclean and disgusting. This is because he observes sex as a unifying force which bloats his paranoia. Iago’s quest to become powerful is manifest as he pursues to destroy Othello who is a Venetian military general since he is envious of his status. Iago in disbelieve wonders how easy it is to brainwash Othello and even appreciates how easy it was to do so (Kolin 203).
How does such a strong (or gullible) man become trapped in such plotting? To start with, Othello falls short of knowledge on brewing power and is therefore doomed to fail. He is in the military as a general and therefore has authority over war such as the Turkish fleet, an aspect which should be reflected in his life but fails to (Vaughan 35).
Othello’s faults indicate that his tragic end is justifiable although he did not deserve it. Being a ‘god of war’ he should have done better than having his several flaws dictates his tragic end. By doing this Shakespeare achieves the reader’s sympathy towards the protagonist.
In addition, Othello lives in his own world since he has distinct race and culture since he is not conversant with traditions in Venetian women and even marries Desdemona irrespective of her father’s disapproval. Besides, He takes women as being holy or as being filthy based on their degree of fidelity. His naivety is reflected as he does not believe his wife since he has witnessed her deceive her father before, a deception that she allegedly transfers to the matrimonial bed.
Moreover, Othello has immature communication skills leave alone his expression of personal thoughts, aspects which exaggerate his inadequacy. He says to Brabantio and Duke that “Rude am I in my speech and little blessed with the soft phrase of peace (Shakespeare 1.ll. 81-82)….. And little of this great world can I speak, More than pertains to feats of broil and battle (Shakespeare 1. ll. 86-87).
He uses violence instead of persuasion when addressing women and murders his wife for a single unproved reason of infidelity. This indicate Othello is unable to multitask and has no flexibility of reason as he trusts Iago, since he has proven to be sincere and friendly as well as being loyal to Emilia His wife.
He does not conduct introspection to evaluate his inner self but believes Iago’s incitement and insinuations blindly, becomes emotional, which leads to his irrational thinking. His gullibility ignites jealous which overwhelms him and controls his actions. Eventually, Iago accomplishes his evil schemes of destroying Othello and his wife who were deeply in love.
In conclusion, Othello’s imperfections justifies his tragic end an aspect that Shakespeare implants in the reader to depict that Othello and his like are not the best people to lead the world due to their inherent imperfections. Although he defends the residents of Venice in war, through his victories and abilities, he emerges a tragic hero since he lacks a sound reason and falls into Iago’s plot. This guilt haunts him and ultimately drives him to commit suicide as he sees it as a means of sacrifice to pay for the death of his beloved wife.
Iago’s quest for power, vengeance is accelerated by jealousy and this does not benefit him in any way. As a result, Intellectual power is necessary to enable one to have a rational and an independent thought before carrying out an action. Othello’s predicament awards sympathy to the reader, which appears more real than fiction (Vaughan 5). Therefore, Iago is purely evil while Othello incredibly gullible since he falls prey of Iago’s devious plot.
Hankey, Julie. Othello. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2005. Print.
Hundley, Sterling. Othello. New York: Sterling Publishing Company, Inc. 2005. Print.
Kolin, Phillip. Othello: New Critical Essays. New York: Routledge. 2002. Print.
Shakespeare, William. Othello: By William Shakespeare. New York: MobileReference. 2008. Print.
Vaughan, Virginia. Othello: A Contextual History. New York: Cambridge University Press. 1996. Print.
The “Antigone” by Sophocles and Its Historical Context Analytical Essay
While researching texts about Sophocles’ “Antigone”, I found three articles that discussed the historical significance of the story. These articles explored various themes in the story. They explain how Antigone’s past experiences are still relevant in the present. My goal in this paper is to discuss the historical context of the story with regard to its timeless significance.
To achieve this goal, I have organized my paper into three sections and four subsections. In the first section, I give a brief introduction about Sophocles’ “Antigone”. In the second section, I outline three elements that link the story to the present. I explain the reasons that prompt Antigone to defy her king. I discuss Antigone’s actions with regard to present day societies. I end my paper with a third section which explains the timeless themes that are evident in the story.
An understanding of history usually elucidates the present. Antigone’s story is still relevant in the present. Sophocles writes about a fictional king named Oedipus, who rules the city of Thebes (Anouilh 17).
Oedipus is banished from Thebes because he has inadvertently committed incest (Woodruff 92). He has two sons named Polyneices and Eteocles (Braun 62). He also has a daughter named Antigone (Woodruff 22).
After Oedipus is banished, Eteocles banishes his older brother and claims the throne. Polyneices leaves Thebes with plans to overthrow his sibling (Braun 137). He returns and attacks the city with the help of his newfound military. Polyneices and Eteocles kill each other in the midst of the onslaught (Braun 148). Creon, a despot, is later crowned king of Thebes (Woodruff 160).
Creon decrees that Eteocles will be remembered as a hero while his brother will rot in disgrace (Braun 128). Creon is the antagonist in of the story (Woodruff 14). He is a ruthless leader. He can be described as a dictator. His penalty for disobedience is death. Antigone defies Creon by planning to give Polyneices a proper burial (Braun 142).
Sophocles’ opinions about war are evident when the two brothers kill each other in the story (Woodruff 140). Sophocles believes that in war, there are no victories. When countries go to war, every side expects to have casualties. Lives are lost for the sake of petty squabbles. Antigone is also a casualty of war (Anouilh 134). She loses both of her brothers to a conflict that could have easily been resolved.
Oedipus represents a failed state (Woodruff 129). He was the king of Thebes. He failed to meet the standards of his people. He was therefore banished shortly after he blinded himself for the atrocities he had committed. He also ruled his father’s kingdom before discovering that he had committed an act of patricide (Braun 31).
Many political leaders have been destroyed by mistakes that they made in the past. For example, a certain Italian minister was accused o having sex with an underage prostitute. Like Oedipus, his statesmen have lost faith in him. His integrity has been compromised.
Freedom of Expression
One of the political elements evident in the story is freedom of expression. Antigone intends to bury her brother in a dignified manner. Creon represents an oppressive regime (Braun 92). He plans to have her punished because her actions are akin to civil disobedience (Woodruff 152).
Creon justifies his cruelty by regarding Polyneices as an enemy of the state (Braun 147). In the present, Polyneices would be regarded as a traitor and a domestic terrorist. Attacking Thebes may be termed as an act of treason (Woodruff 67). However, his sister’s compassion for him is not an act of treason. It is an act of love and honor. Antigone believes in the gods of her people (Anouilh 24). She defies her king because she believes that her actions are justified. She is even willing to die in the name of honor.
Antigone is a symbol of martyrdom (Braun 167). She is willing to die for her beliefs. She believes that she must honor her brother. Creon represents an autocratic government (Woodruff 150). Antigone’s actions drive Creon mad (Anouilh 45). He accuses Antigone’s younger sister, Ismene of committing the same offence (Braun 178). Ismene confesses to burying her brother despite the fact that she was not involved (Woodruff 192).
Ismene’s selfless actions represent family ties. She is willing to die for her sister. Shortly after her confession, Creon discovers the truth. He orders his men to bury Antigone alive in a cave while sparing her sister (Anouilh 67). Creon’s subjects notice a change in his behavior. They assume that he is a lunatic. His son, Haemon is appalled by his actions (Braun 90). Antigone’s simple act of compassion leads to the fall of an empire (Anouilh 78).
Antigone invokes Theban law by stating that Creon’s actions are dishonorable (Braun 126). Antigone’s defiance rallies the people of Thebes (Anouilh 97). Some scholars have argued that Antigone represents the feminist movement (Anouilh 142). She is strong and compassionate. She defies an oppressive king. She also inspires the people of Thebes (Woodruff 165). Sophocles’ story is timeless (Braun 174). It elucidates the present.
Anouilh, Jean. Antigone. Chicago: Illinois, 2004. Print.
Braun, Richard. Antigone: Greek Tragedy in New Translations. New York: New York,
Woodruff, Paul. Antigone. Los Angeles: California, 2001. Print.
A Play “Hamlet” by William Shakespear Essay
The play Hamlet portrays Hamlet as a character who is slow to act due to his convictions. He sometimes makes rash choices, which make him to commit bad mistakes leading to his own downfall. His personality led to delay in revenge and caused more harm both to himself and to his country.
Hamlet has five acts, which help to develop its plot and it is set in Denmark. The events in the play surround the highly esteemed royal family in the country. The first act starts with the events taking place in Denmark’s Elsinore Castle at night. King Hamlet’s death has forced prince Hamlet to leave school and come home to mourn for his father.
His mother begged him not to return to school and he agreed saying, “I shall in all my best obey you, madam” (Shakespeare, Act 1, Scene 2, line 120). The prince is not only disturbed by his father’s death, but also his mother’s remarriage to King Claudius barely a month after his father’s death. Hamlet’s father ghost revealed to him that King Claudius killed King Hamlet and requests Hamlet to revenge, which he agrees eventually. The second act shows Hamlet leading a disturbed life and a life of isolation.
This makes his mother and the king to think that he is mad. The Queen explains that Hamlet has been disturbed by the recent happenings in the palace. Hamlet decides to prove whether Claudius really killed his father and in act three, he uses the play “The Murder of Gonzago” to get the truth. Hamlet is convinced that the play will be an important tool “wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king” (Act 2, Scene 2, line 607).
Hamlet is religious and his philosophical convictions prevent him from killing Claudius immediately when he finds him praying, and, instead, he confronts his mother and scolds her for her actions. The queen cries in fear and Polonius, who is hiding behind the tapestry, echoes her cry. Consequently, Hamlet stubs him thinking that he is Claudius. Hamlet blames Polonius for his intrusion and claims that “I took thee for thy better, take thy fortune” (Act 3, Scene 4, line 33)
It is evident that King Claudius is living in fear of Hamlet. He decides to send Hamlet to England where he plans his murder so as to spare him all the fears he has. Laertes returns and inquires about the whereabouts of his father from the king. The king explains Polonius’s fate and they both agree that they have a common enemy.
Hamlet returns from his journey to England and witnesses Ophelia’s burial. In the fifth act, both Laertes and Hamlet are determined to revenge their Father’s killing. A fencing match between Laertes and Hamlet bring to an end the entire royal family.
Hamlet is the son of the deceased king Hamlet and queen Gertrude. His personality seems to develop as the play progresses. At the beginning of the play, Hamlet is an emotional character and he has a lot of thoughts disturbing him (Delano para.2). When he meets the ghost and learns of his father’s murder, his anger further boils and he sets out for revenge. Hamlet portrays contrasting characters and personality throughout the play.
He does not rash in revenging and so looks for prove that Claudius is guilty of the murder. Even when he finds the truth about his father’s murder, Hamlet still wanted accurate prove. He is also philosophical and believes in religious views. This further makes him delay in fulfilling his revenge mission. However, the way Hamlet kills Polonius, without even checking to be sure who is behind the tapestry, portrays him as being emotional and quick to respond to his emotions.
More about This Topic What is Hamlet’s Opinion About Theater? What does the first soliloquy reveal about Hamlet? What Does the Ghost Tell Hamlet? Which Details in Hamlet Reflect Elizabethan Society? In What Sense is Hamlet Wrong in His Plotting Against and Killing of Claudius and in What Sense He is not? Which line would most likely be written by a reader analyzing Hamlet through the formalist lens?
Therefore, Hamlet’s mixed personality makes him emotional, rash, thoughtful, obsessed, generous, loyal, noble, philosophical, religious and humorous. He is loyal to his friends even when he knows that they are against him. Hamlet’s personality makes him delay his revenge mission and causes more harm as many people die due to his actions, including himself.
Hamlet loved his father and this is why his death disturbed him very much. He was determined to revenge for his father’s death in order to get peace of mind; however, he purposed to do it with full prove of the killer’s guilt.
His mother grieves him through her decision of getting married to King Claudius soon after his father’s death. According to hamlet, her mother’s action portrays her as a whore and makes him hate all women. She does not set a good moral example for her son. Claudius is Hamlet’s enemy, even though he is his uncle and king of Denmark.
He killed Hamlet’s father and made his mother whore by marrying her (Mabillard, para. 11). Due to this, Hamlet got determined to fight Claudius not only for revenging his father’s death, but also for honor. Hamlet loved Ophelia but the turn of events made him to develop a negative attitude towards her. At the end, Hamlet says during Ophelia’s burial that he loved her more “than forty thousand brothers could not, with all their quality of love make up my sum” (Shakespeare, Act 5, Scene 1, line 270-272).
The ghost plays a major role in this play (Egan, para. 7). It informs Hamlet of Claudius’ act of killing King Hamlet and asks Hamlet to revenge. The ghost also tells Hamlet of Claudius act of making the Queen a whore. Even if Hamlet agreed to fulfill the ghost’s request, he initially doubted its authenticity and sought for a prove first.
Shakespeare used symbolism in his play to convey various messages. The object symbol used is Yorick’s skull. He used it to bring out the fact that death is inevitable and unpredictable to all people. In Gertrude’s bedroom, Hamlet hurls abuses on her and at last, he kills Polonius. Hamlet called the queen an “unweeded garden” symbolizing her lustful behavior in marrying the King aft her husband’s death (Kern, 139).
In conclusion, Shakespeare used Hamlet’s character to develop the plot of his play Hamlet. The play, whose setting is in Elsinore Denmark, portrays Hamlet as having various and sometimes conflicting characteristics. Shakespeare explored various themes, such as like politics, uncertainty, incest, revenge, fate, religion in this play.
Delano, Pamela. “Literary analysis: Hamlet, by William Shakespeare.” Helium. Helium, Inc, n.d. Web.
Egan, Maurice F. “The ghost in hamlet.” TheatreHistory.com. TheatreHistory, n.d. Web.
Kern, Diane E. CliffsTestPrep Praxis II: English Subject Area Assessments. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing,Inc., 2006. Print.
Mabillard, Amanda. “Hamlet Plot Summary.” Shakespeare Online.com. Shakespeare Online, 20 Aug. 2000. Web.
Shakespeare, William. Hamlet. Logan Iowa: Perfection Learning Corporation, 2004. Print.
Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs Essay (Critical Writing)
Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs can be considered as a semi-autobiographical play because the writer inserted his childhood memories of living in New York before the World War II. The play differs much from other Simon’s works because it represents a combination of two genres uniting skilful characterizations and humor. Brighton Beach Memoirs narrates the story about Eugene Jeromes, a boy who is dreaming to become a great baseball player or, in case of failure, an outstanding writer.
The play also discloses the problems of the Jerome family whose actions and deeds are skillfully supplemented by refined humorous situations and sufficient emotional charge. Brighton Beach Memoirs is a coming-of-age play where Eugene cannot be defined whether he is an adult or a child. The hero fells that all his ambitions fail because of his mother’s pressure.
Eugene has still difficulties in making his choice; he wants to fulfill himself in two completely different professions thus showing that he is unable to be responsible for his life. As an example it is possible to present the quarrel between Eugene and his mother revealing that each character has his/her unique image of the way the world should work: “Eugene: It’s the last batter Mom. Mel Ott is up. It’s a crucial moment in the World Series history. Kate: Your Aunt Blanche has a splitting headache” (Simon 4).
The actor’s play cannot be considered the pink of perfection, but it managed to render Eugene’s searches and transformations. The wide range of his interest is constantly changing the actor skillfully conveys all those transformations. The actor has a deep sense of timing and space so that he could fluently deliver all humorously and emotionally colored scenes. His theatrical proficiency helps him disclose the character’s experiences while interacting with other characters.
More importantly, the acting style accurately rendered the historical and culture context of the events. The interaction between Kate and Eugene shows an antagonistic polarity and both heroes represent the example of generation gap. In the end, it should also be stressed that the actor skillfully addresses the audience and immediately renders the “memories” about Jerome’s childhood. In general, the proficient cast made the beginning and the ending parts a valuable experience.
The directing of the play managed to extend the subtext through the portrayal of actors as adults and children. In particular, the director provides an original approach to Eugene transformations through the observation of his past and future perspectives. The directing team effectively presented the composition of the play. In particular, the play slightly deviate from the original script and the pircturization was accurately rendered through various scientific devices and techniques.
In order to enhance the humorous effect, the director author-justified tweaks and aisles to create the link between the play and the original script. In addition, the director strived to render the play as the funnier property through deploying Eugene as the representative of the financial dynasty. He did not only include all members of the family, including father Jack, mother Kate, Eugene’s older brother Stanley, but other important characters that supplement the overall ideas of the play.
The directing team did not take the risk to deviate from the play’s setting and plot and, therefore, it tried to preserve historic, cultural, and social context. Although the play was more humor-oriented as compared with the original variant, the setting and the atmosphere reminded of the times and events before the World War II. In particular, everything from the traditional furniture and costumes to make up and decorations were closely related to that period of time.
The scene design was presented in brown gamma of colors that is typical of the 40s of the past century. Such a decorations would highlight the caring and the warmth of the family relations, notwithstanding some stressed from the inside and outside world. The scenery emphasis was the home interior reflecting a warm color pallet. The exterior, however, was also represented through roofing section and provided the lighting that also reflected all the interior tendencies.
Due to the fact that theatre is nothing but a black box, the bulk of the decoration area was slightly alienated from the audience. The costumes fitted well in the overall atmosphere presenting the same palette color. In general, the director strived to engage the audience into the performance so that each person viewing the play could participate in the events taking place on the stage.
In general, the plot was structure carefully and the directing managed to reach an old-fashioned effect. All the problems of the play were also carefully revealed, they involve the reader in the flow of events and conflicts where the culmination and denouement were also thoroughly arranged.
The portrayal of crowed daily life and routine, however, partially resembled of the 80s American family. Besides, the play was richly endowed with details and carefully designed costumes to involve the audience in the pre-war times. Despite the excellent directing and acting, some elements of the original script were lost due to the discrepancies in genres and techniques.
Simon, Neil. Brighton Beach Memoirs. US: Plume, 1995.
Othello as the Outsider Essay
The play Othello by Shakespeare is a tragedy of human relationships where the protagonist is unable to adjust to the rules and principles of Venetian society. His alienation from actions and concerns affects his much because his physical appearance along with his character traits is in dissonance with the context of the play.
Hence, due to his otherness, Othello is unable to enter the rational society. His consciousness is overwhelmed with jealousy and fury. The hero is also an outsider in expressing his thoughts and manners; he is unable to accommodate the moral and ethical norms of human behavior and, therefore, such an opposition dooms Othello to be a permanent outsider, which also makes him a tragic figure. In addition, Othello’s alienation is also revealed through linguistic and contextual techniques.
Othello as an Outcast of the Venetian Society
The first feature that differs and alienates Othello from the Venetian society is his race (Vaughan 33). Being a Moore who came from Egypt, people are reluctant to accept him. Despite his enormous attempts to gain respect, his military and respectful position in the army still keeps him far away from being recognized and accepted.
His race and origin pursues his throughout the play which makes more hostile and outrageous which is reflected in all his actions and deeds. Even after marriage with Desdemona, the senator’s daughter, Othello is still perceived as something unusual and even mysterious due to the color of his skin; his affection for Desdemona is also realized in unusual way: “That with some mixtures pow’ful o’er the blood / Or with some dram, conjured to this effect/ He wrought upon her” (Shakespeare 382).
Even those who consider him as a peer, particularly Desdemona and Brabanzio, are still attracted and bewildered by his exotic features. There are cases when Othello himself realizes that he is an outcast of society and recognizes his exotic appearance distinguishing him from other Venetians.
Othello is conscious of his blackness and distinctions from other members of society. He takes advantages of his racial distinctions to justify his actions and explain the reasons of his moral and social inferiority.
Bloom states, “[h]is blackness is the cause of Brabantio’s opposition to his marriage, it affects the consciousness of everyone around him, and it has just been pressed upon him by Iago’s insinuations of Desdemona’s unnaturalness” (55). In the play, Othello strives to emphasize that his blackness is insignificant impediment and highlight the advantages of his origin revealing the positive features of his character and behavior.
However, by justifying his origin, Othello subconsciously acknowledges that his an outcast of this society and there is a considerable gap between his wild and irrational world and between superior and aristocratic Venetian society: “Haply, for I am black,/ And have not those soft parts of conversation,/ that chamberers have, or for I am declin’d into the vale of years (yet that’s not much), She’s gone” (Shakespeare 438)
At the same time, by trivializing his racial affiliation, the hero accentuates the irrationalism of his judgments and rejects to acknowledge the actual reason for his alienation. Such position leaves Othello with two options only: he can either recognize his blackness in the face of his counters or internalize this feature which makes him resort to self-loathing.
Othello as an Outsider in Human Relations
Othello becomes an outsider and a foreigner due to lack of experience in human relations and communication. The hero looks different in the society where moral and ethical standards deviate considerably from his personal ideas about life and relationships. Inability to control his feelings and emotions cinches him, specifically in relations with Desdemona, Iago, and other characters of the play.
Paradoxically, despite of Othello’s apparent eloquence, he still protests “Rude am I in my speech, / And little blessed with the soft phrase of peace” (Shakespeare 381). Othello’s marrying Desdemona can also be estimated as a feeble attempt to assimilate to the society focusing less attention to his exotic appearance. However, the failure to be recognized and to be equally considered by others deprives him of the last chance to regain his identity.
The false reputations gained in the army still blind his ambitions any display of disdain and negligence toward him is perceived furiously. Therefore, Desdemona’s betrayal seems horrifying to Othello because he regards as another stab in his back and in his attempt to be considered equally in relations.
Othello also considers Desdemona’s adultery to be a confirmation of his otherness. Betrayal, thus, means the loss of reputation and, at a deeper level, his anguish and rage is caused by the identification of himself via his affection for Desdemona.
Therefore, he cannot accept because it would alternatively mean the perversion of his love: “But there, where I have garnered up my heart, / where either I must live or bear no life; / The fountain from the which my current runs, / or else dries up: to be discarded thence!” (Shakespeare 473). Othello erroneously believes that his identity and being can be expressed through his feelings, but his impulsive behavior betrays him and outcasts him once again from the rational and balanced society.
Othello’s fear of his own rage coming outside makes him even more wild and outrageous, which dooms him to be the outsider until his death (Bloom 58). Therefore, the murder was the act of liberation from the bounds of love and passion, which prevented him from struggling with his repulsive nature.
Othello’s Language and Behavior within the Context of the Play
The way Othello communicates with other members of society and expresses his feelings and emotions is another indicator of his alienation. Evaluating Othello as the outsider from the linguistic and contextual point of view is also possible. With the regard to the possibilities of the text and the context, Othello is endowed with a so called counter text and counter language with the help of which he is forced to explore himself and surrounding world (Rao 55).
In other words, Othello as the outsider “…has a grammar of his own but its syntax cannot relate to syntactical realities of the white narrative” (Rao 55). This two-polar opposition could be explicitly viewed when opposing the protagonist with other characters. Hence, Othello – Iago and Othello – Desdemona can be regarded as dichotomies that should be interpreted outside the marginal meaning and apart from prevalence of a signifier and signified.
Taking into consideration the structure of the play and its narration, it is possible to assume that Othello is antagonistically presented through his language and communication. His reactions to his own manner of communicating outcasts him from the ideal world, the world totally contrast Othello’s world. What is more important is that language serves to distinguish various social classes and roles, educational background, and means for disguising the true intensions and thoughts of Shakespeare’s characters.
Finally, the language also manages to render Othello’s willingness to appropriate his speech to the Venetian society and his role in it. Hence, the hero is forced to suppress his nature and being to be recognized by those who openly reject him.
The image of Othello’s world, hence, is reflected through his feeble attempts to imitate the language that he does not know. Othello’s characteristics language also provides reasons from being alienating from the society (Clingman 85). It identifies the failure of being assimilated in society and contradicts his racial affiliation.
The play Othello by William Shakespeare discloses very complicated topics and one of them relates to the representation of Othello as the outsider as a foreigner who fails to be recognized by the Venetian society. Due to his racial affiliation and alienation, Othello cannot be accepted by refined and rational society. Being overwhelmed with burning desire to prove his right to equally exist in the Venetian society, the hero is gradually becoming frustrated with the severe reality because he is perceived as nothing but a Moore with exotic appearance.
Therefore, such acceptance forces Othello to become an outsider and to realize his impossibility to inherit all manners and behavior that are necessary for peer existence. Therefore, his alienation and estrangement from the white world is expressed through societal attitude, Othello lack of communication and failure to establish norm human relationships, and the contextual and linguistic peculiarities of the play.
Bloom, Harold . William Shakespeare’s Othello. US: Infobase Publishing. 2010. Print.
Clingman, Stephen. The Grammar of Identity: Transnational Fiction and the Nature of the Boundary. UK: Oxford University Press, 2009. Print.
Rao, P. Mallikarjuna. Postcolonial Theory and Literature. US: Atlantic Publishers & Distributors, 2003. Print.
Shakespeare, William. Four Tragedies. US: Penguin, 1994. Print.
Vaughan, Virginia Mason. Othello: A Contextual History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996. Print.
“The Sound of a Voice” by Henry Hwang Critical Essay
Life is a puzzle. Whatever it offers or what it fails to offer bears a corresponding consequence. It matters less therefore, the nature of the offer, whether good or bad, the bottom line remains; each has a flaw attached therein. Oscar Wilde gives some insight to this issue to unravel the mystery behind the life. Wilde asserts that, having what one desires is a tragedy just like not having it. Though the words may differ in terms of one’s’ interpretations, they are true and to the point.
For instance, most things that people yearn for, do not even cost money, viz. love, attention, to mention but a few. The tragedy strikes in when the world fails to avail them whereas it can offer a well paying job an example of what people desire. As people strive to meet the job’s demands, a tragedy inform of a mess crops up in their families, as they are too busy with the job to attend to the families’ needs.
Playwrights have set out to address this reality, and among them is, Henry Hwang.
The Sound of a Voice is among Hwang’s captivating tragic Chef-d’oeuvres, featuring two categories of lonely characters, male and female. Hwang wants to see how the two interact in their endeavors to obey the attraction-repulsion powers of love. The two need the others’ love for their emotional satisfaction. Their world finally fails to provide, hence a tragedy. However, the psychological strength offered, turns out a tragedy as the two groups struggle to maintain their mental uprightness, when they all surrender to their emotional needs.
This scenario, coupled with others, concurs with Oscar Wilde words that, “In this world there are only two tragedies: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.” For instance, the company that the play’s protagonist gets from his female friend after a long period of loneliness is the cause of her death, as elaborated next.
The company that the woman gets from the man is the root cause of her death. Once a person receives what he/she has been longing for, he/she handles it with a pronounced care and attention. This stands out in the play as the woman gives a warm welcome to the cold-stricken man, who enters her house. The woman in the play has been lonely for a long time since people claim that she is a witch thus avoiding her.
When the man enquires to know how frequent she is visited, she says, “I don’t know…perhaps ten years…” (Hwang, 2003, p. 973). As a result, she longs for company, which she gets from the man. To show the depth of her desire for the man, and how satisfied she feels after getting him, she offers him tea.
As the woman enters the house to find the man dressing, she assumes he is leaving and gets annoyed of it because this is not what she desires. This atmosphere does not continue for long. In fact, the woman reveals to the man that there are other men, who visit her with a hidden agenda of killing her. She insinuates that the man could be one of them. This realization marks the dawn of her tragedy.
The man begins to torment her. The woman says, “Stop that…tormenting me…to kill me” (Hwang, 2003, p. 985). From this scenario, it stands out that, though the woman wanted the man for company, what she gets as a result is none but threats of death and torments, which concords with Oscar Wilde’s words.
The man is in need of a long-lasting relationship with a caring beautiful woman. However, as the play unfolds, though he gets the woman, the relationship is just but limited and his efforts to maintain it marks his tragedy because they bear no fruits. The story opens with the man visiting the woman.
His pronounced loneliness stands out as he spends the previous night in the cold besides a waterfall. To show the degree of his loneliness, he reveals to the woman that, “The sound of the waterfall put me asleep…you see, I can’t sleep in too much silence” (Hwang, 2003, p. 971).
These words are a package, sufficient to tell that the man is actually in need of company, and one can insinuate, he has found one in the woman. However, this is not enough of what he is looking for. He symbolically tells the woman that he has a long journey to cover, implying a long-lasting companionship. The woman ought to be caring, and as he can prove from the warm welcome, she really is. The woman passes for a companion as expounded next.
She is beautiful and always ready to satisfy the desires of the man. She plays some sweet melodies to him and this pulls him closer to her. He can afford the words, “We are a team, you and me” (Hwang, 2003, p. 977). However, the deal seems too good for the man and thus he ought to think twice. He thus talks of rumors that men, who happen to visit her never, return. This reveals the real character of the woman. The woman is abusive.
She says, “Then you are a fool to come here…they are blind as well as ignorant” (Hwang, 2003, p. 981). The way the play ends symbolizes the man’s effort to look for a long-lasting companion. It ends with the woman exiting the room with the man rushing after her, only for the woman to hang herself leaving the man alone. He fails to get what he wanted: a long-term relationship, hence a tragedy as Oscar Wilde calls it.
The love that the man develops turns out to be the cause of his weakness. As the man enters the woman’s house, he is yearning for love, which he gets from the woman. In fact, he tells her that she is beautiful and loving, confessing that he has actually been drawn to her. When the woman tells him to kill her, if at all this can make him not to leave her, the man reveals that he lacks, even the energy to kill himself, owing to the evident weakness brought by his love to her. In addition, the woman bears more skills compared to the man.
She bears the strength of a man. Though she thought that the skills would help her draw love from the man, they turn to be the source of the man’s unhappiness. The man tells her, “Yes! Go! …the techniques” (Hwang, 2003, p. 980), which among other episodes, show how what the two characters had and what they did not have, turns out to be a disaster.
Though people desire a lot for their own satisfaction, life seems to offer only two options. They will either get or fail to get what they want. Surprisingly, regardless of whether people get or fail to get what they want, the upshot is a tragedy. Hwang, in his charismatic masterwork, confirms this through his characters, the man, and the woman.
For instance, the man, whom the woman gets after a long period of loneliness, begins to threaten and torment her. This, among other play scripts, concurs with Oscar Wilde word that, ‘in this world, there are only two tragedies: one is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it.’
Hwang, H. (2003). The Sound of a Voice. New York: Theatre Communication Group.