Select two characters from the works Medea and Pygmalion and compare the means by which these characters are constructed and developed.

Essay by trinidadUniversity, Bachelor's November 2006

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Euripides and Shaw employ a range of techniques to present the compelling personas of their female protagonists, Medea and Eliza. The intense emotional transformation of Medea and Eliza's striking physical change are formed by such methods as language, tone, stage direction and theme development. In addition, the course of action the characters take influences the way they are perceived, as does the way the other character's view them. Each technique is important and the playwright must carefully consider all of them when constructing and developing their character.

Euripides emphasizes Medea's intelligence, she is cunning and clever yet feared and despised for having qualities typically associated with masculinity. Aegeus comments, "Certainly; a brain like yours is what is needed" and Creon fears her for being a "clever woman skilled in many evil arts" Medea herself feels her intelligence has been her "curse and ruin". Conversely, Eliza's poor grasp of the English Language often leaves her unable to respond effectively to the array of insults thrown at her by Higgins" often whimpering 'ah-ah-ah-ow-oo" in response to being called "bilious pigeon" or a "draggletailed guttersnipe" Although, surprisingly, when Eliza learns to speak eloquently she loses the freedom to say whatever she wants and is left with the small talk of the upper class.

The intense language of Medea shows conflict, passion and rage and contrasts completely with the light, humorous language of Shaw's Pygmalion. In dealing with the important issue of the British class system, Shaw's use of humor allowed the middle class audience an opportunity to laugh at themselves while taking into consideration the play's deeper moral issues. Euripides, On the other hand, employs the use of the Chorus to help provide a voice of reason and reflect on the plays morality as well as Medea's actions.

Elaborate costume and set...