One does not need to go into deep, critical analysis to see that women are portrayed as very weak and servile in the Iliad. We have seen them being humiliated by their husbands, brothers, and even owners. They are often charged with tasks others would find demeaning if left to someone else. The chauvinism is everywhere and it is very clear that the role of women in the Iliad was that of a woman who needs a man to take care of her and keep her lying, twisted heart in check.
Medea’s Feminist Movement In Euripides “Medea”, Medea is a woman that feels she has been betrayed, after her husband Jason left her. She mourns and weeps at the beginning, then starts staging her revenge against Jason at any cost. In the story, it seems she blames the way women are unequally treated to be the cause of her demise and revenge. Medea personality is seen as someone that is against the patriarchal community she lives in. Her actions and thought process show she is unique from the normal woman of her time and she even changes other characters like the Chorus thinking of what a woman should be.
The act of feminism can often be perceived as unpleasant, due to the insufficient understanding of the affiliation's purpose. Euripides and Aeschylus both created female characters who defined the basic laws of gender persona. Medea and Agamemnon portray strong, but rash women, who do not settle for injustices related to them. The epistemology of Euripides and Aeschylus works can be further understood when a feminist standpoint is considered. The women, Medea and Clytemnestra, show the importance of not treating a female as less, although, most women today do not kill those who are unjust, they do strike back against the wrongful act.
The consequences of acts of rebellion against their patriarchal systems by Antigone and Lady Macbeth result in their premature deaths. Two women who exist in society as property of men, yet gather the courage to speak up in order to get what they want. Each of these characters uses her dainty hands in deliberate actions against their male counterparts in wild disregard for traditional rules. An inner spirit empowers them with silent force against the men of influence in their lives. Antigone claims her superiority over Creon in confession to Ismene, the chorus, and to the King himself.
Clytemnestra is the anti-feminine queen in Agamemnon, which the reader (at least the ancient Greek) would have hated for stepping outside her place as a woman. The first mention of her masculine behavior comes from the watchman at the beginning of the play. “She in whose woman’s breast beats heart of man” (Aeschylus 2). Clytemnestra rules over the kingdom of Argos while her husband Agamemnon is at war. In his essay “The Critique of the Female Stereotype in Greek Tragedy”, Leonard Moss describes the typical female character in tragedies.
The role of women in society has been tested and Medea is the one who wants to attempt to change the way women are seen and perceived. When Jason leaves Medea, she is devastated and outraged. She turns on the city and kills the King, Princess, and even her own two kids to get back at Jason. Medea is not seen as a threat to the city because of her role as a women of Corinth, but in the end she will cause devastation and an uproar in civilization. Medea tells Jason “To turn me out, to get yourself another wife, even after I had borne your sons!
The general story has shown women to be left at the mercy of men and both adaptations challenge that perception. Trojan women has been used to push for social change because it presents the story of a group of women who appear worthless now that the men in their life have died in battle, and the characters within the story react to this in different ways. Both Evans and Meacewen showcase Helen as a character that has the qualities it takes to choose her own fate, rather than having her husband do it for her. Although the difference in plot may give Helen a more empowering role in Trojan Barbie than in Trojan Women, both writers can agree that this character use her cleverness to decide her own future.
However, Greece is known to have been no different from other societies of its time in regards to women. While works such as the Odyssey by Homer create powerful Greek women figures, they do not reflect the typical views or treatment of women during the time period they were written. Homer was very much the feminist of his time, diverging from the conventional views of women with his story. Women in his story are at times cunning and deceptive with men, shattering the old view of women as weak and helpless; yet at the same time, they assist men tremendously, sometimes even putting their own reputation at stake to help males. Through descriptions of iconic females and their actions, women in Homer’s Odyssey serve as both loyal allies and formidable foes for men, greatly influencing their thoughts and actions and contrasting the typical view of the author’s time that portrayed women as powerless.
He gave us the shape of society to study by, and women the drive to fight for more importance. Typical Athenian women we low on the economic, social and political totem pole, and yet Euripides shows women as prominent characters. Edwin Ardener refers to Athenian women as the "muted class", "muted simply because (women do) not form part of the dominant communicative system of the society" (Ardener 22). Even as we praise Euripides for his portrayal of women, we must realize that this portrayal is from a man's point of view. When we look at the dialogue of his more prominent characters, like Medea and Phaedra, we must remember that it is only what Euripides thought they would say in the situation.
The Roles of Women in Ancient Greece and the Reasons for their Subordination Women in Greece were treated very differently from the men, they were thought of as less and weak men. The men controlled the lives of the women and made sure the women felt this way and knew their place. “Married women in Greece had three main jobs raise their children for the sake of Athens, show no weakness than was natural to their sex and avoid gossip.”(J. Coffin & R. Stacey 125).This was thought by all men in Greece but even more so in Athens. As time went on women became more inferior to men the problem did not get any better as Greece went into the dark ages. During the dark ages it is not exactly sure how many resources they Greek people lost, many major settlements were abandoned there are no written facts from this time and it was assumed that the people were illiterate.