Conflict Between Male And Female Characters

2154 Words Nov 19th, 2014 9 Pages
‘Husband and wife may exchange roles but never escape the tyranny of roles themselves. Theatrical narratives appear to promote the very ideology of difference they expose as arbitrary.’ (B. Freedman)

In both tragedy and comedy, conflict between male and female characters can often be found at the crux of the theatrical narrative. In plays that present on-stage opposition between men and women, it can be perceived that a typical set narrative structure is followed: the actions performed by male characters incite women to castoff the role of passivity and impose their presence on stage . As a result of lapsing into a masculine mode of behaviour, the females’ traditional archetype is then left to be fulfilled by the male characters. In comedy, such sexual role reversals are found aplenty, emphasised and made comic by cross-dressing whilst in tragedy, it appears rarer. Furthermore, in tragedy the role reversal focuses on the women’s function as usurping the roles designated for male characters. Euripides’ Medea and Aristophanes’ Women at Thesmophoria provide one with a paradigm from each genre of how sexual role reversal can explore alternative representations of gender and result in having a transgressive impact on dominating gender ideology. Both playwrights present complex characters that conform to and discard their traditional gender roles during the course of the play’s narratives

Barbara Freedman’s Frame-up: Feminism, Psychoanalysis, Theatre provides an appropriate…
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