Women in Euripides' Alcestis, Medea, Andromache, and Bacchae Essays

Women in Euripides' Alcestis, Medea, Andromache, and Bacchae Essays

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Euripides portrayal of women in his plays has been somewhat bizarre. His female characters kill out of revenge, kill out of jealousy and kill because a god possessed them too. In Alcestis and Andromache Euripides does produce classic heroic female characters. The women in Medea and The Bacchae are not your typical heroines but serve to show the same theme of female liberation as the women in Alcestis and Andromache. While Alcestis is straight forward with its message, the other three plays mask their true intentions from the people they are created to oppose. Euripides might have been misinterpreted by his society because it was dominated by the very people he wrote his plays against. Euripides disguises some of his radical ideas to those who might oppose him and in Alcestis, Andromache, Medea, and The Bacchae shows his female characters being liberated from oppression.

In Alcestis we have the heroic female character Alcestis. She dies as a sacrifice to Death so that her husband, Admetus, can escape his own fate when his time comes. A sign that women are oppressed is that Admetus picked his wife to die for him without giving it much thought. It was only after he realized how loving and caring this woman can be, did he regret his decision. Not only did he regret the decision made with the god Apollo, but Apollo himself goes and has a talk with Death. This switch in the opinion of Admetus in a way expresses the fact that women are not viewed as they should be. Women should not be treated as if they have no useful value, as was the case when Admetus first allowed his wife to be his sacrifice, a decision that he would not have made if he had known the woman for more time. Women therefore should be valued more than they are now,...


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... have committed were done against men as of the results of mans oppression against women. Euripides could have been telling the truth about his time, the tales of murderous women who seek revenge on their husbands, and the men of the his time might have tolerated this view. The point that might have escaped the men of Euripides' time was that he was pointing the finger at them. This accusation of men was hidden in his plays. Euripides masked such accusations as rants by crazed females. In a culture where disrespecting woman was in the norm, Euripides highlighted what could go wrong with such disrespect. The only reason that the people of Euripides' time might have not understood his point was that they saw no wrong being done in disrespecting women. How can people be afraid of the results of a mistake if they do not realize they made the mistake in the first place?

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