Research Publication Title

Altering Femininity Through Analysis of Female Stereotypes and Aristotle’s Four Levels of Characterization

Presenter Information

Bailee AdamsFollow

Major

Theatre

Faculty Mentor

Dr. Amy Pinney

Keywords

actor, character, Aristotle, femininity, physicality, levels of characterization

Abstract

An actor’s ability to transform into a character is a crucial element of theatrical magic. To do so, an actor must rely on clues left by the playwright presented as dialogue. When taking on the role of Jeanine in the play The Marriage Counselor, I sought to evaluate the most effective way to portray this character whose personality traits significantly differ from my own. To do so, I evaluated Jeanine’s and my female stereotype based on the work of the Guerrilla Girls (2003). After assessing her stereotype, the character of Jeanine was created through analysis of her four levels of characterization (physical, social, psychological, and moral) based on Aristotle’s Poetics (335 B.C.). The evaluation of the levels of characterization were ultimately presented as imperative to the research process, as it informed Jeanine’s physicality (specifically, her manner of walking), speech inflection, and interaction with other characters. The results indicated that the most effective way to portray a female character is to assess the dialogue, evaluate her female stereotype, and use that stereotype to drive the analysis of Aristotle’s four levels of characterization.

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Altering Femininity Through Analysis of Female Stereotypes and Aristotle’s Four Levels of Characterization

An actor’s ability to transform into a character is a crucial element of theatrical magic. To do so, an actor must rely on clues left by the playwright presented as dialogue. When taking on the role of Jeanine in the play The Marriage Counselor, I sought to evaluate the most effective way to portray this character whose personality traits significantly differ from my own. To do so, I evaluated Jeanine’s and my female stereotype based on the work of the Guerrilla Girls (2003). After assessing her stereotype, the character of Jeanine was created through analysis of her four levels of characterization (physical, social, psychological, and moral) based on Aristotle’s Poetics (335 B.C.). The evaluation of the levels of characterization were ultimately presented as imperative to the research process, as it informed Jeanine’s physicality (specifically, her manner of walking), speech inflection, and interaction with other characters. The results indicated that the most effective way to portray a female character is to assess the dialogue, evaluate her female stereotype, and use that stereotype to drive the analysis of Aristotle’s four levels of characterization.