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Euripides Was Accused By His Contempories Of Being A Woman Hater. Why

1558 words - 6 pages

Euripides was accused by his contempories of being a woman hater. Why
do you think this was so, and how justified do you think the accusation was?

Question
--------

Euripides was accused by his contempories of being a woman hater. Why
do you think this was so, and how justified do you think the
accusation was? In your answer you should consider not only how
Euripides portrays his female characters, but also the sentiments
expressed in the plays and the contempory view of women.

Answer
------

Euripides definitely had an opinion on woman that was not shared by
many other play writes. Whether it is hatred or not, women play a
major role in a Euripian play. Their role in society of that time was
a great contrast to that of the men. Compared to today, women were
miles apart from men; they were not even considered citizens of their
region.

This is obvious in the chorus where in the Electra, Medea and
Hippolytus there is a chorus of women. This was unheard of in the time
when the plays were written. A chorus is typically made up of wise men
of Athens, therefore making it up of women would in that age, be very
controversial. In Medea the chorus side with her and Medea makes the
chorus swear to silence. Therefore she can confide in them without
having to put a face on. The image put across here is that the woman
team up against the man. The chorus being women, side with the
feminist Medea. "I heard her sobbing and wailing," the chorus talk
about the true Medea that is hidden under her facade.

The same is true in the Electra. The chorus is made up of
country-women of Mycenae, who also side with Electra. When Electra
moans about not having a gown or riches to go out and enjoy herself,
the chorus offer a way out. "Borrow from me a lovely gown, closely
woven, and a gold necklace." The women are on her side, they try to
persuade her to be like all the other women and go out partying.
Electra wants none of this and aims to gain more self-pity by forcing
herself to stay at home, doing all the work. Euripides writes her to
be an attention seeking noble woman, who has married the peasant to
make a statement. Not the most likeable of characters.

In the Hippolytus, there are two choruses. One made up of huntsmen who
follow Hippolytus and the other of women from Trozen. They support
what they represent. This shows a contrast in opinions of women in
comparison to huntsmen. The chorus of women worry about Phaedra and
her illness, where as the huntsmen do not. They care more about the
goddess Artemis and hunting, like Hippolytus himself. "How she wastes
away on a bed of sickness and keeps to the palace."

Clytemnestra in the Electra is the widow of Agamemnon, the national
hero and adulterer. She killed her own husband claiming that it was
out of revenge for Agamemnon sacrificing their daughter, Iphagenia.
She is tough and not easily misled. In the Electra she comes over as a
strong willed mother who cannot...

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