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Characterization refers to the way in which a writer chooses to portray his fictional characters. This essay will study the methods used by two great playwrights, Euripides and George Bernard Shaw to portray the characters of Medea and Eliza Doolittle in their respective plays, Medea and Pygmalion.


Euripides and Shaw bring out these traits by allowing the characters to express their feelings, giving them social status which goes a long way in defining them as individuals and exploring their sensitivity. In this regard both writers have used direct as well as indirect methods of characterization.
Euripides uses the technique of exposition to give an insight into Medea's character and to provide a history of her background thus far. The nurse delivers this introduction and at the very onset, we are able to divine her personality and a glimmer of the devastation she is capable of wreaking on those who unwisely cross her. According to the nurse, "Her mind thinks in extremes She'll not put up with being treated badly", she is a creature of violent passions and has committed horrifying acts in the name of love, but now her ardent love has soured and "She's a dangerous woman" (Euripides, 2006)1. Thus his Medea creates a powerful impression even before she comes on stage. Euripides uses the essential tool of drama - dialogue, to allow Medea to express her feelings and plans for revenge. Thus the audience manages to get first-hand information about her inner-most thoughts and emotional state. Further he allows her actions to speak for themselves. ...
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