Euripides Medea Vs. Greek Prejudices And Gender Roles
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Medea vs. Greek Prejudices and Gender Roles
In the story of Medea, the author, Euripides, addresses the topics of foreignism and female roles in the ancient Greek society. In the play, Medea, a foreign born woman, marries Jason, a Greek man, and moves to Greece to be with him after leaving her homeland with death and devastation. Then, when their marriage fails, Medea lashes out against Jason, causing her own exile and murdering her children, to which she has no love connection, and Jason’s new wife in the process. The main character, Medea, confirms many of the alleged Greek prejudices against foreigners and creates some prejudices of her own in return. Medea’s foreign roots and misconceptions, as well as her familial and societal atrocities,…show more content… Because she does not hold the same beliefs and ideals of the women in her new society, this escalates the Greek’s skepticism of her and leads to further rejection. Jason explains to Medea that Greek women accept traditional societal roles and the duties placed on them by men when he says, “It is only natural for your sex to show resentment when their husbands contract another marriage. But your heart has now changed for the better. It took time, to be sure, but you have now seen the light of reason. That’s the action of a wise woman” (Page 209-210), but Medea strongly refutes these beliefs.
*Although Medea is arguably the most intelligent character in Euripides’s piece, shown in her dialogue with Creon, she has become ridiculed, and viewed as barbarous and less desirable following her separation from Jason. She is no longer a wife to a Greek man. She is simply an outsider, and a burden on a prosperous…show more content… In ancient Greece, women lacked many of the fundamental rights held by men. Medea feels that this is unjust. These feelings are shown on page 195 when Medea states “...we must pay a great dowry to a husband who will be the tyrant of our bodies; and there is another fearful hazard: whether we shall get a good man or a bad. For separations bring disgrace on the woman and it is not possible to renounce one’s husband…” After being rejected by the one she loved, she beings to question the morals of those around her. She assumes that Greek women are weak and naive for allowing men to treat them this way; allowing men to cast them away at their heart’s content. Her hatred toward Greek women continues as she discusses the fact that she should not have to bear children or have a strong maternal instinct in order to be considered a woman of societal worth. Women should be as important in battle as men are, as she states on page 195 when she says “They say that we have a safe life at home, whereas men must go to war. Nonsense! I had rather fight three battles than bear one child. But be that as it may, you and I are not in the same case.” The gender imbalance in the ancient Greek civilization is greatly upsetting to Medea, creating her mindset that Greek women are weak and simple minded while Greek men are oppressive and inequitable. Medea shares