Repression of Women in Euripides' The Bacchae Essay

Repression of Women in Euripides' The Bacchae Essay

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Repression of Women in Euripides' The Bacchae

   Many different interpretations can be derived from themes in Euripides's The Bacchae, most of which assume that, in order to punish the women of Thebes for their impudence, the god Dionysus drove them mad. However, there is evidence to believe that another factor played into this confrontation. Because of the trend of male dominance in Greek society, women suffered in oppression and bore a social stigma which led to their own vulnerability in becoming Dionysus's target. In essence, the Thebian women practically fostered Dionysian insanity through their longing to rebel against social norms. Their debilitating conditions as women prompted them to search for a way to transfigure themselves with male qualities in order to abandon their social subordination.


According to research, the role of women in classical Greece was extremely limited. Men and women were segregated all over in the Greek society, even in the home (Source 9). Women were secluded in their homes to the point of not being able to leave their own quarters except on special religious occasions or as necessity dictated (Source 10). All women were tightly controlled and confined to the home to insure that their husbands were provided legitimate male heirs. Beyond this, women had no true value (Source 6). Clearly, male domination in Greek society was like enslavement to women. A marriage contract dated 92 B.C. can be located in Women's Life in Greece & Rome by Mary R. Lefkowitz and Maureen B. Fant which defines unacceptable behavior within the union of marriage. The document requires that both husband and wife be chaste within the context of the household, but although nothing prevents ...

... middle of paper ...

...because their position in life made them more susceptible to this kind of delirium.


Works Cited

Williams, C.K. The Bacchae of Euripides

Faraone, Christopher A. Ancient Greek Love and Magic Http://

Gleason, Maud W. Making Men: Sophists and Self-Presentation in Ancient Rome Http://

Lefkowitz, Mary R. And Maureen B. Fant Women's Life in Greece & Rome








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