ASSIGNMENT 1: COMPARATIVE STUDY
How is reputation, honour and respect portrayed and what is their significance in the plays, Antigone and Uncle Vanya?
Let me begin this essay by outlining the connection between reputation, honour and respect. The reputation of a character is made clear through the amount of respect and honour with which he or she is treated by other characters in the drama.
The plot of Antigone immediately focuses on the burial of Polynices. In the opening scene his sister Antigone is concerned to uphold the family´s reputation and honour. Burial is a way of honouring the dead, particularly a man who died in battle, but Antigone also has the intention of enhancing her reputation. Antigone has scattered over the face of the corpse “a handful of dust“. We can see that this is a significant token although not a complete burial. She cares more about the fact that she did it and less about the extent of it. There is more proof of her intention to establish a good family reputation in the opening dialogue between Antigone and her sister Ismene. Here she says that she wants to prove herself “worthy of the honour of being Oedipus´ daughter”. As reputation is built up by the things you are known for, you can see why Antigone overreacts with the retort, “Don´t you dare!” when Ismene suggests to her that she keeps quiet about her defiance of the king.
In Uncle Vanya the reputation of the main characters, all men except for Sonya, is based on their achievement or lack of it and it is closely associated with their behaviour. Vanya is most given to self-doubt of the three leading men. However, he is also most outspoken, in the third act of Chekhov´s play, accusing the Professor of “writing rubbish, complaining, and being jealous” which is less than respectful and actually undermines the reputation of Serebryakov. Since Uncle Vanya presents a community on the estate where people live in close proximity to each other, the achievements,...