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Finding Empathy in All About Eve

            Joseph Mankiewicz's 1950's melodrama "All About Eve," provides an insight into the qualities needed to succeed in the ruthless world of the theatre. In particular, the main protagonists, Margo Channing and her "carbon copy," Eve Harrington, are portrayed as flawed characters because of their single-minded pursuit of fame and fortune. Margo has a temperamental behaviour and she is always being unreasonable. She is hard to get along with as we can see in the film that she is always arguing with her friends. Margo calls Karen a "happy little housewife", fights with Lloyd when Eve plays her part when she is late to the theatre, and eve fights with her love, Bill because of her insecurities about her age and her desirability. However, Margo has an integrity and charisma that is hard to duplicate and, unlike Eve, she has not been prepared to sacrifice her basic humanity in the pursuit of fame. Eve is ruthless, expert at hiding her devious ways and a total liar. The contrast between these two characters is what makes it inevitable that the audience empathises with Margo despite her flaws.
             The audience is positioned to empathise with Margo as she is a real person while Eve Harrington is a 'type'. Although Margo behaves like a diva, she is a real person with feelings. She is moved by Eve's false story – her tale of a deprived and joyless childhood and her marriage to Eddie, an Air Force radio technician who was killed in a recent war. Margo then takes Eve under her wing, giving her a job and a home, but not knowing that Eve is actually studying her and building steps towards her goals. This kind act of hers clearly shows that she is feeling sorry for someone she feels is down on her luck, this encouraging the audience to sympathise with her. Margo is selfish, driven, and egotistical, but underneath her rough exterior lies a woman that harbors many insecurities and an almost vulnerable naiveté.

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