Medea the Feminist

Topics: Gender, Gender role, Woman Pages: 4 (1335 words) Published: July 11, 2011
The role of women in Greek society is a major theme in Euripides’ Medea. In ancient Greek society, women are frail and submissive according to men, and their social status is considered very inferior. Feminism is the theory of men being treated differently than women and the male dominance over women in society. Because of Jason’s betrayal of Medea, she is a challenge to the traditional views of ancient Greek society based on her actions. She wonders about the differences between the treatment of men and women and the active roles they play in society, such as the woman’s role to bear and nurture children. Medea ignores those feminine qualities and questions Jason’s sexist ideals. She internally struggles between self independence and motherhood. Euripides uses Jason’s affair with his new found wife and Medea’s obsession with wanting to bring much pain to him to display a feministic point of view in his play. Early in the play, when Medea is upset and somewhat depressed, she examines the inequality of men and women in her monologue. We women are the most unfortunate creatures.

Firstly, with an excess of wealth it is required
For us to buy a husband and take for our bodies
A master; for not to take one is even worse.”
And now the question is serious whether we take
A good or bad one; for there is no easy escape
For a woman, now can she say no to her marriage.
She arrives among new modes of behavior and manners,
How best to manage him who shares the bed with her.
And the husband lives with us and lightly bears his yoke,
Then life is enviable. If not, I’d rather die.
A man, when he’s tired of the company in his home,
Goes out of the house and puts an end to his boredom
And turns to a friend or companion of his own age.
But we are forced to keep our eye on one alone. (Euripides, 695) Medea is infuriated at Jason because of his marriage to the King’s daughter. This type of behavior is nothing so rare in ancient Greek culture; it is...
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