Haemon

At the beginning of the scene, I would perform the role by acting neutral and understanding; I’d adopt a stance of legs shoulder-width apart, arms loose by my sides, facing Creon. My face would show neither frown nor smile, being neutral again. This would show that I was prepared to accept Haemon’s argument, without having much initial bias of the situation. This in turn would be done with the aim of gaining sympathy from the audience, as they would see Haemon as an understanding character. I would speak pleasantly, with a steady tone and pace, showing patience.

I would also show respect with the phrase ‘I know I am your son, Father’, emphasising the word ‘father’. This would remind the audience that Haemon is the son of Creon, and therefore should expect a certain degree of understanding from him. That the understanding is not later shown by Creon would generate sympathy from the audience, as they would see that Haemon is not being treated with respect or dignity that he deserves. During Creon’s long speech, I would stand patiently, without fidgeting, listening to his words.

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This would show that I would be prepared to listen to Creon, with patience and understanding; such qualities are ones that would be valued by the audience. In the following speech I would make, I would follow the oblique nature of the lines, in order not to openly insult Creon. For example, the line ‘it’s not for me to say you are wrong’ would be delivered with an emphasis on ‘me’, to show that I wouldn’t be making an open attack. I would also gesture towards myself, and then away from myself dismissively, to show that I acknowledge myself as not being an important person, in order that the audience feel more sympathetic towards me.

I would say ‘But I sometimes hear people whisper’ with a pause between ‘but’ and ‘I’, in order to detach my opinion form those which I am about to express, so as not to directly antagonise Creon. The audience would spot that here, and in the ensuing dialogue, I would be subtly attacking Creon’s policy for its unjustness. I would speak the oblique attack on Creon with my palms open towards Creon and the audience, to symbolise that I would be speaking honestly and openly, and also so as not to be imposing upon the audience or Creon; the audience are far more likely to sympathise with an unimposing character.

On the line ‘let me beg you to have seconds thoughts’, I would stress the word ‘beg, and bend my knees and clasp my hands. I would not go right down to my knees, as this would appear too resigned and weak; rather, I would bend my knees so as to be half-way to the traditional position of being ‘on one’s knees’, to show humbleness and pleading, but without making the character appear too pathetic. If I were to appear too pathetic, the audience would fail to sympathise as me as a character, and begin perhaps to look down on Haemon as being spineless.

This visualisation of a subtle adaptation of the traditional pose of begging would make me appear as a compromising, understanding character with whom the audience would be more inclined to sympathise. In the stychomythic dialogue that follows the speech, I would remain calm and controlled; this would contrast with Creon, who, by this point, would be angrily shouting. My voice would be of a raised volume, but not to the extent of shouting.

I would keep my tone constant, and my body still; angry gestures would put my character in a similar position to Creon; avoiding parallels with Creon is important, as he is a character with whom the audience will not sympathise during the scene. When saying ‘now you’re the one who’s speaking like a boy! ‘ I would emphasise the word ‘your’, and the word ‘boy’. This would highlight the fact that I would accuse Creon of being childish, but without resorting to extremes of volume or pitch; pace, volume and pitch would be controlled to show Haemon has a level head, unlike Creon.

The audience will be better-disposed to a character who appears reasonable and controlled. From the line ‘If you weren’t my father’, I would increase my pace and volume to reflect the heightened and heated state of the argument. I would also stress the word ‘demented’ in order to give a more dramatic effect, so that Creon is shown to be a character who is unlike Haemon; I would be acting controlled. The result of this would be that the audience feel disdain for Creon, and sympathy for Haemon, who is driven to frustration by Creon’s obtuse attitude.