Free Greek Classical Drama Similarities and Differences Essay Sample

“Antigone” and “Medea” are two main productions of Greek classical drama. Both plays directed by women. Antigone featured a presentation by Fiona Shaw and the director being Niketi Kontouri. Medea featured a performance by Sophocles Peppas as Creon and Lydia Koniorduo as Antigone. The play is directed by Deborah Warner.

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The opening scenes in the plays give up several purposes. They both start with providing the viewers with the past and the penalty of certain situations that the characters are part of. This brings the audience to the current time, in which the play happens thus enabling the audience to have a refreshed and comprehensible image of what feature of the myth the play highlights or any adjustments made.

Another resemblance of the two Greek plays is that they both share the disobedience of the traditional position of women. According to the Greek culture, women were to take the passive responsibility and on no account should they question a superior male. Women’s views were irrelevant in the society.


In “Antigone”, the first to go in the play are Ismene and Antigone while in “Medea” the first to enter the play is the nurse. Antigone and Ismene engage in a dialogue over defying the declaration forbidding their brothers’ funeral that brings the audience to the present. The nurse in “Medea” reminds the audience of the myth of the Golden Fleece. She also tells about the love involving Medea and Jason from start to the end.

The chorus in “Antigone” emerges in every scene and serves as the tone of the traditions. It also acts as guidance to the characters. The chorus in “Medea” relates the reasons for the fight and death of Antigone and Ismene’s brothers (Eteocles and Polyneices). The nurse in “Medea” brings in an extremely anxious mood that stays all the way through the whole play.

Character Dynamics

Delving deeper into "Antigone," the dynamic between the titular character and her sister, Ismene, emerges as a focal point. Beyond challenging societal norms, their dialogue becomes a microcosm for the broader theme of individual conscience versus state authority, adding layers of complexity to the narrative.

Psychological Depth of Medea

In "Medea," the character study of the titular figure reaches unparalleled depths. Medea's transformation from a betrayed wife to a vengeful force of nature unravels complex emotions and motivations. The nurse's introduction sets the stage, foreshadowing the intense emotional turbulence that defines this tragic tale.

Visual and Auditory Impact

Moving beyond the textual, the performances of Fiona Shaw as Antigone and Lydia Koniorduo as Medea transcend mere acting. They become transformative experiences, unveiling the multidimensionality of these iconic characters. The directorial nuances by Niketi Kontouri and Deborah Warner contribute distinctive flavors to each play, shaping unique atmospheres.

Chorus Dynamics

Examining the role of the chorus, a nuanced difference emerges. In "Antigone," it embodies tradition and guidance, while in "Medea," it assumes a more ominous and foreboding presence. This distinction amplifies the sense of impending tragedy, showcasing the adaptability of Greek classical drama to varied interpretations.


In the culmination of these analyses, the brilliance of "Antigone" and "Medea" unfolds not only in their shared defiance of traditional gender roles but also in the intricacies of character dynamics, the psychological depth of exploration, and the impactful visual and auditory elements. Each production becomes a unique journey through the complexities of human experience, challenging and captivating audiences across generations.


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