Medea Study Notes

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‘Jason was my whole life.’
‘possessor of our body’
‘will the man we get be good or bad?’
Continuing in this vein of abstract dissertation, Medea laments the contemptible state of women: they are forced to become their husbands' possessions in marriage (with no security, for they can be easily discarded in divorce), they must endure the pains of childbirth, and they are kept from participating in any sort of public life (unlike men, who can engage in business, sport, and war). Once their home is taken from them, women like Medea are left with nothing.  the lack of emotional restraint is "typical" of women, and the uncompromising attention to principled action is the hallmark of heroic Ancient Greek males. Subordinate position

 A woman, when she marries, must leave her own home and join her husband's. She is therefore always an outsider. Women are not free to socialize in public space as men are; while men roam wild, indulging sexual appetites or enjoying the company of friends, women are expected to stay at home. Women are unfortunate because they have little or no control over their lives. Whether married or single, they are in subjection to men and social structures favoring the more powerful sex. In order to find a husband, the women must display great material resource, but their  “purchase” of a mate turns against them when, according to prevailing mores, they take not so much a partner as a master. There is in addition a double bind, which insists that even unmarried a woman cannot be  considered “free”. She is without social status and legal protection and suffers ostracism for giving up her biological role in procreation. Her responsibility is to accommodate the in-laws while discovering how to “manage” the new husband. Happiness remains contingent on how well the wife silently manipulates the situation, taking care never openly to challenge the marital status quo. Married life can quickly become intolerable, since males have sexual freedoms which...
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