The Role of Women in Medea

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Medea is the tragic tale of a woman scorned. It was written in 431 B.C. by the Greek playwright, Euripides. Eruipides was the first Greek poet to suffer the fate of so many of the great modern writers: rejected by most of his contemporaries (he rarely won first prize and was the favorite target for the

scurrilous humor of the comic poets), he was universally admired and revered by the Greeks of the centuries that followed his death(“Norton Anthology”). Euripides showed his interest in psychology in his many understanding portraits of women (“World Book”). Euripides choice of women support characters such as the nurse and the chorus is imperative to the magnification of

Medea’s emotions. The very fact that the nurse and chorus are female deepens Medea’s sadness, impassions her anger, and makes the crime of killing her own children all the more heinous. Medea’s state of mind in the beginning of the play is that of hopelessness and self pity. Medea is both woman and

foreigner; that is to say, in terms of the audience’s prejudice and practice she is a representative of the two free born groups in Athenian society that had almost no rights at all (“Norton Anthology” 739). Euripides could not have chosen a more downtrodden role for Medea. Here is this woman who has stood by her man through thick and thin. She has turned her back on her family and killed her own brother while helping Jason capture the Golden Fleece.

“Oh my father! Oh, my country! In what dishonor
I left you, killing my own brother for it.”
(Medea 164-165)
Despite all of her devotion to her husband he has fallen in love with someone new, Glauke. The Nurse and the Chorus understand and sympathize with Medea as only other women could. Euripides develops the heart of Medea’s character by the sympathetical approach of the Nurse.

“...calling out on her...
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