Medea's Misogynist Controversy

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During 4th century B.C, ancient Greece had adopted views that were dominantly misogynist. Women were thought to be no more than tools to the men of the Athenian society which was overwhelmingly patriarchal. To explain, one can look at the archaeology of the Greeks found in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The towering figure of Dionysos, the God of Wine, hovering over a miniature, and at the same time powerless, women perfectly exemplifies this concept of misogynism. To further the periods misogynistic ideas, the literature had no concept of centering a story around a woman. Yet despite living in this society as described, Greek playwright Euripides was the first voice of protofeminism in the Athenian society. His play Medea was the…show more content…
Athenian orator Lycurgus claimed that “oath” is what holds a democracy together (Fletcher 2). This democracy though was recognized by Euripides to be dominantly honored between males. Euripides indirectly questions this. The overarching reason of why Medea is forced into what she did is because Jason refused to honor the terms of marriage with Medea, despite her helping him stay alive in his previous adventures. By having Medea essentially win at the end of the story in her quest of revenge, Euripides has shown that males have almost a duty to be honorable in their oaths to females. This male audience would have taken it as a potential threat to “male hegemony that was demonstrably dangerous” (Fletcher 30). Euripides for the better or worst, depending on how the male audience reacted, controversially sobered the viewers into the reality of honoring women. To add, “in Aristophanes 's Frogs, the poet Aeschylus complains that Euripides has made tragedy democratic by allowing his women and slaves to talk as well as the master of the house“(Foley 13). This is unquestionably true, especially with how the play begins. The two characters, the nurse and the tutor, at the beginning are in fact slaves whose lamenting is actually heard by the audience. Euripides humanizes the slaves by giving them emotions for their masters as if he was calling the male audience to appreciate any form of a servant system. For women this was especially true, for instance, when Medea was ranting about how Jason deceived her and chose to give a speech outside in the beginning of the play, not even one chorus member chose to antagonize her. This act is symbolized to have the male audience concede the point that women do have undeniable plights that must be addressed with equality. Euripides writing is far more controversial than it needed to be if he just wanted to win the Athenian
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