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The Tale of Two Women

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  • Pages: 3
  • Word count: 556
  • Category: Jealousy

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In Jane Martin’s play “Beauty”, the author creates two characters who examine the human failing of wanting things they perceive they do not possess. One woman desires beauty while other lady desires intelligence. Also, the stage direction illustrates the irony of the characters’ interactions. By the play’s conclusion, Martin changes the characters’ outward appearances while keeping their original intelligences. Bethany, who represents the intelligent women, speaks for the Genie who is never seen until the play’s end. The magic lamp, on the other hand, is present at the beginning of the play. The lamp represents the change that Bethany desires. Carla, who portrays the beautiful women, is talking on the phone at the beginning of the play.

The telephone represents her peers not treating her as an intelligent individual. She is treated as if her were another pretty face in the world. Both women want change, but Bethany seeks change first. In a way, Bethany fulfills the role of the seeker. Carla is shown to the audience using the telephone which could imply a more materialist aspect of her character. Bethany brings something that is supernatural and Carla uses something tangible. It is though that Jane Martin is a pseudonym for Jon Jory. (Robbins 2) If so, he is the one that is seen directing the play not Jane Martin. It is believed that Jory writes with the help of his wife Marcia Dicxy Jory (2).

However, it is unfortunate that a majority of literary critics are more fascinated with Jane Martin’s real identity than her published work “Beauty”. Bethany and Carla each believe they want the attributes each was born with. The playwright creates characters that are envious of each other. The characters experience jealousy, discontentment, success, and approval. Bethany and Carla are jealous of the life the other leads. Bethany tells Carla “I want to be like you.” and “jealous. The ogre of jealousy.”(Martin 1108) Carla wants Bethany’s brain and success. Looks are not everything. When beauty comes into play there is always something missing.

Jealousy develops when others desire what others have. This is something that has existed since the beginning of time. According to Bethany Nelson, “The beauty we are told we must have is unattainable, fragile, and ethereal. And yet, women continue to listen to this voice, believing the lie that their only worth comes from and outside pair of eyes appraising them.”(Nelson 4) Bethany and Carla are discontent with each one’s life direction. According to Sara Paulk, “While there is some confusion as to whether Jane Martin is a pseudonym for a male playwright, these plays speak to women’s frustrations with male-dominated society.” Paulk also adds, “They are darkly humorous and biting.”(101)

Works Cited
Green, Leah. “Jane Marin.” Critical Survey of Drama, Second Revised Edition (2003): 1-4. MagillOnLiterature Plus. Web. 26 Feb. 2013.
Helbig, Jack. “Collected Plays(Book).” Booklist 98.16 (2002): 1376. Academic Search Complete. Web. 26 Feb. 2013.
Martin Jane. “Beauty” (2001): 1106 – 1109. Rpt. In Literature and the Writing Process. Ed. Elizabeth McMahan, Susan X Day, and Robert Funk. 9th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice, 2007. 222
Paulk, J. Sara. “Book Reviews: Arts & Humanities.” Library Journal 121.1 (1996): 101. Academic Search Complete. Web. 26 Feb. 2013.
Robbins, Dorothy Dodge. “Jane Martin.” Cyclopedia of World Authors, Fourth Revised Edition (2003): 1. MagillOnLiterature Plus. Web. 26Feb. 2013.

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