The Roles of Dido and Medea; A Comparison of Cultures
Women in the ancient world did not have the rights or status as we do today. They were looked upon as possessions or property. For a woman to be strong or be allowed to hold a position of power was something that was unheard of. Medea and Dido were two very strong and powerful women, however each lived in slightly different cultures. Their choices in how they chose to wield their power gives us a small insight on the differences in cultural lifestyles between the two women and the worlds they lived in.
Medea was not the typical woman that we would see in Greek society. She was a master of the art of manipulation, shrewd, and possessed a bit of masculinity in her actions. These were qualities that we would usually see in a Greek warrior, such as Odysseus. Typical Greeks seemed to always rely on the gods or goddesses for guidance or help, even the males. Medea relied on herself. She was a known sorceress or priestess. Medea used her potions and incantations to help her obtain whatever she wanted. This sets her apart from even the men. In the play, we as readers are never really told what Medea looks like; we are only told of her capabilities. Kreon tells her that he is afraid of her. This says a great deal of how Medea is viewed in Greek society. Women were treated like an object, nothing more than someone to cook, clean, and bear children. Medea striking fear in a male character, especially a king shows us as readers that she stands out in Greek society. She is not a meek and quiet woman. She is strong, independent, and will do what ever it takes to stay true to who she is. She refuses to conform to the typical Greek woman status. She wants to be known as someone who is to be respected and is very powerful, not something that would be associated with your average Greek woman.
Roman society was very similar to Greek society. Both were primarily patriarchal....
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