Essay Example on Characterization in Ancient Greek Literature

Published: 2022-08-26
Essay Example on Characterization in Ancient Greek Literature
Type of paper:  Course work
Categories:  Character analysis World literature Ancient history
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1107 words
10 min read

Thesis statement: The paper will discuss the elements of character development in the mindset of ancient Greek authors in reflecting a comparative assessment of modern literature to elaborate on the significant similarities and differences.

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Building on the basic mindset of the ancient Greek literature contributors this piecework will unearth the elements that made Greek characterization peculiar to their ancient Greek history and culture.

Tools of characterization

It is important to establish the trappings that define character development in Greek literature. This will entail the elements used by the ancient Greek authors to develop the personality traits of a particular character in literature (De Temmerman & Evert 2017). The tools will include;

  • Actions attributed to a certain character,
  • Figures of speech applied by the character and in authorial intrusion,
  • Direct development of antagonist and protagonist roles of character personality by the narrator or author as well as the plot.

Personality trait clustering presented in Greek Characterization

It is essential to identify the unique personality elements that make the character development in Greek literature stand out from other forms of genres. These elements will include;

  • Covering a wide scope to have literature representation in major walks of life situations,
  • Predictability,
  • Characters are limited to specific genres/authors,
  • The elaborate significance of the physical appearance.

Characterization techniques

Authors in Greek literature have a common way of developing their literary works by developing characters using particular techniques which include;

  • Plot development
  • Character presentation
  • Integral features of the literary genre.
  • Application of literary devices to represent Greek cultural aspects

Characterization role development

The characters and personality traits of the plots in Greek literature have a common way of developing the role played by the persona of the genre. The development elements comprise of;

  • Exploration of the rationale of the actions to drive the plot attributed to the kind of characters,
  • Anthropomorphizes of non-human characters,
  • Ethological connection to the audience's appeal
  • The subjection of narrator's or author's personal experiences,
  • Enhancement to realistic sociological information for pragmatic qualities representation
  • Identification with historical and social contexts and influence.

Compare and contrast on Greek and contemporary characterization

In order for the piecework to rationalize the identification of Greek characterization in contemporary world literature, it is important to make a comparative analysis of the two distinct forms of literary presentation of information. Therefore, it is important too;

  • Show the similarity that exists between Greek and Modern literature characterization,
  • Examine the differences emerging between essential elements of characterization in Greek and Modern literature


It is important to establish whether the thesis statement has borne fruits in the exploration of the elements that define Greek characterization in reflecting modern literature characterization. Thus the work will make a conclusive evaluation on the implication of Greek characterization to show how the application of this significant principle of characterization techniques will improve on the way contemporary authors develop their characters and personalities in different genres.

Antigone Sophocles

Characterization of Antigone

In the Ancient Greek culture and literature, women were presented as submissive and obedient housewives. In the patriarchal perspective of their roles and representation, deviance and strong will were determined with strong characterization. The characterization of the protagonist Antigone in the play Sophocles Antigone challenges the typical traditional Greek women. Antigone is presented as the tragic heroine who opposes indifferent characterization of women in the society. In her presentation in the play, she is defined to be an opposed radiant of her sister Ismene who is physically described to be beautiful and docile. Antigone is characterized to be sallow, courageous, problematic, recalcitrant, dignified, and withdrawn. This discussion will explore the characterization of Antigone as presented in Sophocles Antigone to demonstrate the principles of Greek Characterization as applied in this Ancient Greek literature.

Throughout the play, Sophocles characterizes the main character Antigone as a fearless and strong woman outside the expected norms in ancient Greece culture. Antigone remains royal and dignified to her family and firm believes in going against written and stated laws to ensure that her brother, Polyneices, got the right burial she felt he deserved. Although the society regarded Polyneices a traitor and did not deserve a proper burial, Antigone goes against the king's orders to let his body rot in the streets and buried him single-handed despite the reluctant of her sister and uncle failure to cooperate. When she was adopted and questioned before the king she did admit to her deeds and justified her actions. When her uncle, Creon, strongly opposed her intentions she defended her actions as well as the nobility of her family by reminding him that the only glory she would earn on earth was to bury the decaying body of her brother, Polyneices. Although her sister, Ismene, turned cold feet when Antigone asked for her hand in the mission to secretly bury their brother instead of leaving his body to decay on the streets she is still determined to complete the mission of her own.

In the entire play, Sophocles develops the character of Antigone using significant elements for the Ancient Greek Literature. Importantly is the stereotypic characterization of the female flock on Greek literature. The author, as well as other antagonist characters in the play, helps to develop the characterization of Antigone by their perceptions of her place in the society, their expectations of her gender roles, as well as her responses to questioning when brought to the masculine authority (Fitzgerald, Robert & Fitts, 2011). Although in the contemporary literature her character would be idealized for the courageous gesture to remain relay to her family in this context the opposite is happening to the character. Furthermore, Sophocles characterizes Antigone in the pretext of Greek characterization because of how she uses the plot to build the personality traits of the protagonists. The happenings in the scenes are communicating to the audience on the personality traits of the character Antigone. The author evokes sympathy and admiration ethological appeal from the audience in the characterization of Antigone. The scenes are keen to show the reads the type of character traits the persona Antigone posses. This techniques strongly connects the audience to the personality of Antigone as characterized by Sophocles. Conclusively, it is admirable to plot through the characterization of Antigone in Sophocles Antigone in the application of the Greek Ancient Literature with the synchronization with cultural, social and representative norms as dictated by the ancient Greek understanding of literature.

Works cited

De Temmerman, Koen, & Evert van Emde Boas. "Characterization in Ancient Greek Literature : Introduction." Characterization in Ancient Greek Literature. Vol. 4. Leiden: Brill, 2017. 1-23. Print.

Fitzgerald, Robert & Fitts, Dudley Antigone Sophocles Classical Greek Tragedy, 2011, 41pgs. Retrieved from ttps://

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