The Portrayal Of Women In Novels Written Hundreds Of Years Ago. Speaks Of "The Medea" And King Arthur

1553 words - 6 pages

The portrayal of women as seen in novels written hundreds of years ago would be considered appalling as compared to today's standards. In the days of Euripides, a great author of tragic plays, and Sir Thomas Malory, the author of Le Morte D'Arthur, women were subservient to men. Once married, their main role was to obey their husbands and care for the children. Also, women were thought of as the root of all evil. Both Euripides and Malory illustrated their views of women very openly in their novels through their characters' actions and words. However, each author used different arrangements to subordinate the female character.According to written documentation, Euripides' attitude towards women was not favorable. Although they always played a part in his plays, they were not always portrayed in a positive fashion. The Medea, the story of a woman who killed her sons in order to punish her unfaithful husband, was a prime example of this. The first indication of the negative representation of women occurred on the first page when the nurse spoke of a woman's submission to her husband.In Corinth; where, coming as an exile, she has earnedThe citizen's welcome; while to Jason she is allObedience - and in marriage that's the saving thing,When a wife obediently accepts her husband's will. (Euripides p. 17)Here, the nurse explained that a perfect marriage evolved when the woman took it upon herself to conform to her husband's wishes. Along with this obedience, a double standard existed. While any man could escape from the blame of an affair, a woman never could. Medea lamented over this unjust fact.Under the marriage yoke, our life is enviable.Otherwise, death is better. If a man grows tiredOf the company at home, he can go out, and findA cure for tediousness. We wives are forced to lookTo one man only. (Euripides p. 24)Through the words of Medea, it was clear that because of forced obedience it was the woman who always suffered.Once married, a woman usually upheld the responsibility of caring for the children. She was practically the sole guardian because her husband was away from the home providing for his family. In this story, Medea did not particularly care for this maternal role. In the following passage, she explained that she would rather have been doing something less confining: 'And, they tell us, we at home live free from danger, they go out to battle; fools! I'd rather stand three times in the front line than bear one child.' (Euripides p. 24-25) Medea finally rejected her motherly characteristics when she murdered her two sons for the sake of seeking revenge on her husband, Jason.From the man's point of view and Euripides' point of view, women incited evil. They were blamed for any problem that occurred. For example, Medea was banished from Corinth after scorning Jason. He forced all of the blame on her and reserved nothing for himself.I have often noticed - this is not the first occasion -What fatal results follow from ungoverned rage.You...

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