Representation of Women's Roles in Society- Medea

Topics: Euripides, Sociology, Gender role Pages: 3 (1126 words) Published: July 25, 2005
Women's lives are represented by the roles they either choose or have imposed on them. This is evident in the play Medea by Euripides through the characters of Medea and the nurse. During the time period which Medea is set women have very limited social power and no political power at all, although a women's maternal and domestic power was respected in the privacy of the home, "Our lives depend on how his lordship feels". The limited power these women were given is different to modern society yet roles are still imposed on women to conform and be a dutiful wife.

Women have always been disempowered due to their gender in modern and ancient times alike. In Corinth they are expected to run the household and conform to social expectations of a dutiful wife. Medea, being an immortal and descendant from the gods has a certain power in intelligence and sly cleverness. Being a foreigner, Medea's wayward irrational behavior was expected in this play as she was not born in Greece and was seen as an exotic creature. She comes across to the audience as a powerful female character in terms of violence. Some of Medea's reactions and choices appear to be blown out of proportion as authors generally make characters seem larger than life; this creates a better understanding of the text and the issues which are developed through the characters.

Medea's illegitimate marriage and the betrayal of Jason drive Medea to extreme revenge. Medea chooses to act with her immortal self and commit inhumane acts of murder rather than rationalize the outcomes of her actions. Medea see's this option as her only resort as she has been banished and has nowhere to go, "stripped of her place". To create sympathy for Medea, Euripides plays down Medea's supernatural powers until the end of the play. Throughout the play Medea represents all characteristics found in individual women put together, including; love, passion, betrayal and revenge. Medea's portrayal of human flaws creates empathetic...
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