Delineating The Role Of Women In Euripides' Medea

1339 words - 5 pages

Charlotte Bronte once said, “Women are supposed to be very calm generally, but women feel just as men feel. They need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do. They suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow minded in their more privileged fellow creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags”. In the play Medea, Euripides diverged from the traditional role of Greek women through Medea’s characteristics and response to her plight. In delineating the role of women, Medea was unlike any other Greek character. Medea was portrayed as capable and resilient woman who would refuse to back down no matter the obstacles. Nevertheless, women in the Greek culture had very few rights. Housework and bearing children were their main obligations. They were basically no better than slaves. In the ancient Greek society, Medea would not fit well among fellow Greek women. Her role as a woman in the play was downtrodden. However, her determination and courage caused people to fear her. She was a woman who turned her back on her family and killed her own brother in order to help her husband.
Medea had a mind of her own. Since she came from an exotic land, she did not have the same rights as the other citizen in Corinth. As a foreigner, she had trouble adapting and accepting the role of a Corinthian woman. “Then my mistress Medea would never have sailed to the towers of the land of Iolkos, her heart unhinged in her love for Jason, and would not now be living with her husband and children in this land of Corinth, gladdening the citizens to whose country she has come in her exile, a woman totally in accord with Jason himself”, Medea’s nurse said.(page 1,line 10). She left her homeland to fulfill her fate and duty as a wife to Jason. As the play progressed, the audience would realize how Medea tried to model herself into the superlative Greek wife. One of the functions’s as a woman was to bear children. Medea accomplished that by giving birth to two children for Jason. As the play slowly unraveled, it plainly displayed that she was faithful towards her husband, but being an ideal Greek wife was not her factual nature. She was independent and her qualities made her different from the Corinth women. In the opening sequence, the nurse introduced Medea as a frightening woman when someone wronged her. “Her temperaments are dangerous and will not tolerate bad treatment. For she is fearsome. No one who joins in conflict with her will celebrate an easy victory”, the nurse presented (page 2, line). From this, the reader can envision how ordinary other Greek women were. How they didn’t have a mind of their own and were defenseless towards those shabby treatments from men. These women were submissive and didn’t have any control over their lives. However, the...

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