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Medea and Antigone: Literature Comparison Term Paper


While discussing two different characters of ancient Greek and Roman tragedians’ plays, I would like to start with some common features of the characters. Thus, I would like to draw your attention to the so-called psychological manipulation performed by two women. Of course, the term psychological manipulation is related to modern interpretation of the plays. So, on the one hand, Medea and Antigone are both recognized to be very strong characters, whose goals are to be reached by any means. They are not only independent, but also rather composed. In my opinion, the idea to compare their traits of character with the requirements for successful manipulation written by George K. Simon seems to be rather attractive.

So, according to famous psychologist the most important requirements for manipulation are aggressive behavior, understanding the psychological vulnerabilities and having a level of ruthlessness. In spite of the fact that the plays are considered to be very ancient, one is able to analyze the character’s behavior relying on modern interpretations. So, for this reason, I would like you to take into consideration some points concerning possible motivations of the manipulators. As far as both women fight for the things which are important for them, they have the following motivations: the desire to reach the goals, superiority demonstration, the desire to control the things and the desire to get power over others.

However, in spite of the fact that the motivations of Medea and Antigone are considered to be the same, they choose different actions. Thus, the most important distinctive feature between two strong characters is different means usage. While taking into consideration the content of the plays, one can affirm that different moral views of the characters are of primary importance.

So, I would like to draw your attention to the issue of morality. Thus, it is not a secret that the meaning of morality can be compared with the things which are considered to be good and right. The actions of Medea and Antigone are different as they have different moral values. In my opinion, one may affirm that the morality of both characters is related to the so-called code of conduct. In this respect, I would like to touch on the investigations of comparative ethics. So, according to modern interpretations Antigone’s primary feature is considered to be a reasonable care, while Medea’s actions are based on her personal feelings.

Medea is considered to be very impulsive and revengeful, while Antigone is wiser and sober-minded. As far as morality is closely connected with personal development, one may touch on well-defined value systems of two women. Generally, there are two kinds of value system. They are a personal system and a communal one. On the one hand, it seems that I have to touch on a personal system; on the other hand, I should mention that the systems can co-exist and the characters of the tragedians’ plays are related to both systems. First of all, I must say that it depends on certain contradictions whether a personal value system can interact with a communal one or no.

Thus, according to the content of both plays, it is obvious that the main characters cooperate with other figures. Other figures are related to communal value system as the final aim of the main characters’ actions is to reach the goal through close interaction with others. There is no need to consider the differences in value systems of Medea and Antigone as the differences boil down to a question of morality anyway. Thus, the so-called moral codes are to be moral or immoral. As far as both characters are recognized to be manipulative, one may affirm that immoral actions are to be appropriate for both women. The only difference is the way Medea and Antigone choose to act.

Another issue I would like to discuss is related to the notion of emotionalism. Thus, one of the most important distinctive features between two women is their emotional nature. I would like to touch on contemporary theories which can be referred to the plays and their analysis. So, let’s start from Antigone. What can I say about her character? First of all, I would like to point out that psychophysiological experience which is related to Antigone is supposed to be cognitive vs. non-cognitive.

As far as Antogona is composed and sober-minded, one may affirm that her actions are considered and strategic; and on the contrary, Medea’s emotions are supposed to be instinctual vs. cognitive, as she follows her emotions and doesn’t think properly. She doesn’t want to think over the consequences of her actions, while Antogona wants everything to go off swimmingly. Taking into account an affirmation that cognitive activity is considered to be necessary to cause the feelings, I would like to state that unconscious type of cognitive activity is more appropriate for Medea, while Antogona is an example of conscious type.

Another difference I would like to draw your attention to is related to the problem of personality. Thus, I want to discuss some points which concern with some philosophical assumptions of personality.

So, the primary task is to concentrate on individual differences of two characters. I would like to investigate nature personality of both women as well as their individual traits. I want to point out that it is a personality which impacts on the cognitions, motivations and actions of people. The basic philosophical assumption which is related to personality is Freedom vs. Determinism. Thus, Antogona is an example of Freedom (she can control her emotions), while Medea is mostly associated with Determinism. Another point I want you to represent is related to the issue of ego. Thus, while reading Robert W. Corrigan’s book (the translation of Medea written by Michael Townsend) one may speak about the main character’s self-esteem. Interpersonal skills of Medea remind the readers of the basic emotions and reluctance to forgive others. It is self-esteem which causes ego processes. The nature of Antigone is self-centered too; however, her egoism is considered to be pathological.

Generally, the most vivid feature of two characters is the desire to control others. On the one hand, nobody will deny the fact that powerful and independent figures deserve to be respected. On the other hand, the contradiction is that strong and brave characters can’t lose ground. Medea and Antigone are concentrated on their own needs, and nothing else matters. The end justifies the means is a proverb which is more appropriate for Antigone. The only thing Medea deserves is a pity. In my opinion the unique feature of both characters is that they are strong, but unhappy, unfortunately.

Reference List

Corrigan, W. R. (1990). . New York: Applause Theatre Book Publishers. Web.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Medea and Antigone: Literature Comparison." May 29, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/medea-and-antigone-literature-comparison/.

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