Comparison Between The Bacchae and The Medea

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In Euripides’ The Bacchae and in the Medea, there are significant binary oppositions in both plays. Binary opposition is the two opposite terms, such as good versus bad. Binary opposition is used to present both sides of a contrast (Marvin, 1). In The Bacchae and the Medea, Euripides used binary opposition to highlight the central themes. The significant binary oppositions that are used are men versus women, foreigner versus citizen, and god versus man.

The contrast between men versus women is an important opposition in both plays. The women in the Greek society have no control of their life; the men are in control (Barlow 159). In The Bacchae Dionysus underminded the Greek society point view on women and empowers them. Pentheus is furious about Dionysus; he states in this first speech to his Grandfather Cadmus and Tiresias that the women have betrayed their houses to go off into the mountains to dance to Dionysus and are committing sexual acts (Bacchae 217-224). Pentheus is offended that an “effeminate looking stranger” has come into his land and is giving freedom to the women (353). There is a binary opposition between the way Greek society and Pentheus are treating the women (men) versus the way Dionysus treats them (women).

In Medea, the society is similar when it comes to men versus women. Barlow states that the “[h]usband have complete physical control of their wives,” which is similar to the society in Bacchae (Barlow 159). Medea is mistreated by almost all the men that she encounters within the play. Jason betrays her and leaves her to marry Creon’s daughter. Creon wants to banish Medea and her two sons from his land (Medea 272-273). When Creon is banishing Medea from his land he has no h...

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...gedy happened to Medea she cries out to Zeus, “O Zeus and justice Zeus and light of the Sun”, this line is a prayer to Zeus calling out for help(Medea 764). This is showing that the gods are superior from everybody else, and they are called upon when times go wrong.

Work Cited

Barlow, Shirley A. “Stereotype and Reversal in Euripides’ Medea”. Greece and Rome 2nd ser

36.2 (1989): 151-171. Print.

Euripides. Bacchae, Ed and Trans. Stephen Esposito. Euripides: Four Plays; Medea, Hippolytus, Heracles, Bacchae. Newburyport, MA: Focus, 2004. 205-267. Print.

---. Medea, Trans. A.J. Podlecki. Euripides: Four plays : Medea, Hippolytus Heracles, Bacchae. Ed. Stephen Esposito. Newburyport, MA: Focus, 2004. 205-267. Print.

Marvin, Corey. “Understanding Binary Opposition in Literture”, Class Handout: English 101. Cerro Coso Community College, 2010. Print.

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