The Balance of the Female Role
The manner in which Euripides examines the notion of a female's role in his short play, Medea, is one that is unique to that time period, and remains refreshingly different, even in today's standards. Euripides spins a notion of female empowerment, which is a yet unborn concept in the time in which this is written. It is his purpose, using Medea as his subject, to show that women are capable of action (ergon) just as much as the male gender. Furthermore, that this capacity for action through resilience and astuteness is always present, just rarely given the space to shine due to being overshadowed by the male presence in these stories. The vastly different female role in Medea is made apparent through unorthodox character roles, extreme personality traits of Medea, symbols that the reader finds throughout the play, and roles that the supporting characters play in relation to Medea.
The different character roles that females contribute to this play are unmatched in other literature from this era. The resilience of the female gender is foremost brought out in the protagonist, Medea. The singularity of Medea as a protagonist highlights the most prevalent lesson of the play that when women fall under the spotlight, they act of their own accord, and are capable of being something other than dependent on men. A headstrong woman from Colchis, Medea is bitter and ready for revenge upon the opening of the play. A red flag is immediately raised in the reader's eyes, for women almost never receive protagonist roles in this period of literature, and on the rare occasions in which they do, are usually accompanied with a second, male protagonist character. Moreover, another character role in Medea that women do not normally play is one of the chorus. Otherwise always an all-male group, in this play Euripides chooses to cast this as a female role. He does this to provide more of a womanly company in the play, and to help Medea... [continues]
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