It has come to my attention that recent plans have been released to hold a festival highlighting the plight of individuals who might be considered outsiders in our society. This letter is to propose that the plays “Medea” by Euripides, and “A Streetcar Named Desire” by Tennessee Williams be included the festival. Both of these pieces showcase the detrimental and worrisome effects of being an outsider of society while providing an outstanding and engaging performance. The play “Medea” focuses on the discrimination that a foreign woman faces and how it connects with the numerous acts of murder that she commits by will. On the other hand, “A Streetcar Named Desire” depicts how self-inflicted isolation can cause immense loneliness and restrict the formation of relationships with others. While the main characters of Medea and Blanche Dubois are both “outsiders” in their respected societies, they are in their positions for different reasons. The inclusion of both pieces will therefore allow for the audience to obtain a deeper insight into the causes and effects of social misunderstanding.
Exclusion from a community based on unchangeable factors is hurtful and damaging to an individual. This can be seen in “Medea” which is set in Ancient Greece and depicts the struggles of an immigrant woman, and the journey to her ultimate sacrifice, the brutal and violent murder of her own children. In the play, there are many references to Medea as an outsider, the chorus refers to her as “that unhappy woman from Colchis” which justifies her distant origin, while the nurse calls her “scorned and shamed” by her community. The use of alliteration produces a harsh “s” sound which emphasises the vindictive nature of the words and how it translates to her treatment by her society. The reasons to her treatment are able to be determined from the context of this production, it is known that Corinth had a patriarchal society where woman were expected to be civilised and obedient. Medea is not only a woman, but a foreigner and it is due to these reasons that she is unfairly outcast by society. Through appeal to the audience’s conscience, this reflects the extremely important principle that any form discrimination against any person, is unjust and should be considered unacceptable by all in our modern Australian society.
Social exclusion can cause bloodthirsty and disturbing plots of revenge to satisfy a craving for “justice”. This is applicable to Medea’s case due the behaviour of an unsympathetic Corinthian society and can be seen when she is referred to as a “stateless refuge” and this use of hyperbolic language evokes the persecution she has faced based on her origins and her displacement in a foreign land as a result. The killing of her children was a result of Medea’s lust for vengeance to a city of people who have done her wrong. This is proven when she says “The horror of what I am going to do; but anger… masters my resolve”. The use of metaphoric language and the personification of her “anger” create a personal justification as to why she must murder her beloved sons. Her actions display the costly implications of being an outcast, and the suffering that Medea, Jason as well as the royal family face, is an example of how a lack of social sympathy and understanding can lead to terrible consequences for all involved.
Failure to comprehend and implement oneself into a different society can lead to conflict and disconnection. This idea is reflected in “A Streetcar Named Desire” which portrays a traditional “southern belle” Blanche Dubois and her displacement in the multicultural and working class society of New Orleans. In the beginning of the play, Williams uses contrasting language to convey that Blanche is a foreigner to the city. This can be seen through the description of New Orleans and its “atmosphere of decay” and the sense of death that is associated with the cemetery called “Alysian Fields”. Juxtaposition is used…