Plato & Medea

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A&H Paper Number 1

Todd MacDowell

September 26, 1999

Prof. Waite

In ancient Greece women were viewed as many things. They were not viewed as equivalent to males by any means. Women were portrayed usually as submissive domestic, and controlled. They played supporting or secondary roles in life to men, who tended to be demanding of their wives, but expected them to adhere to their wishes. In the tragedy Medea, written by Euripides, Medea plays the major role in this story, unlike most Greek stories with women playing only minor roles, but she also demonstrates many behavioral and psychological patterns unlike any other Greek women. In Euripides' Medea the main character, Medea, Displays many traits that breakdown traditional Athenian misogyny by displaying her as proactive in taking her revenge, having cruel and savage passions, and being a very manipulative women.

Medea shows herself to be a proactive, determined woman who is ready to do what she has been planning throughout the story. In the begging of the book she starts to threaten revenge on her husband, Jason, "If I can find the means or devise to pay my husband back for what he has done to me…"(pg 9). Medea is just touching on her anger that she has built up within her for her husband. The traditional Athenian women would be mourning the loss of her husband, and may feel angry with him but would never swear to revenge him for his doings, and lastly actually do them. Women are usually portrayed in this situation being so dependent on their husbands that they will still do anything for him as so he will continue to help support the children and possibly his ex-wife.

Medea when she decides it is time for her to kill her children struggles with the idea for a minute, "…do not be a coward, do not think of them, and how you are their mother…Oh I am an unhappy women."(Pg 40). This is how a traditional Athenian woman would think, but she would be unable to commit to her...
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