Representation of Womens Roles in Society- Medea Essay

This essay has a total of 1109 words and 5 pages.

Representation of Womens Roles in Society- Medea

Women's lives are represented by the roles they either choose or have imposed on them.
This is evident in the play Medea by Euripides through the characters of Medea and the
nurse. During the time period which Medea is set women have very limited social power and
no political power at all, although a women's maternal and domestic power was respected in
the privacy of the home, "Our lives depend on how his lordship feels". The limited power
these women were given is different to modern society yet roles are still imposed on women
to conform and be a dutiful wife.


Women have always been disempowered due to their gender in modern and ancient times alike.
In Corinth they are expected to run the household and conform to social expectations of a
dutiful wife. Medea, being an immortal and descendant from the gods has a certain power in
intelligence and sly cleverness. Being a foreigner, Medea's wayward irrational behavior
was expected in this play as she was not born in Greece and was seen as an exotic
creature. She comes across to the audience as a powerful female character in terms of
violence. Some of Medea's reactions and choices appear to be blown out of proportion as
authors generally make characters seem larger than life; this creates a better
understanding of the text and the issues which are developed through the characters.


Medea's illegitimate marriage and the betrayal of Jason drive Medea to extreme revenge.
Medea chooses to act with her immortal self and commit inhumane acts of murder rather than
rationalize the outcomes of her actions. Medea see's this option as her only resort as she
has been banished and has nowhere to go, "stripped of her place". To create sympathy for
Medea, Euripides plays down Medea's supernatural powers until the end of the play.
Throughout the play Medea represents all characteristics found in individual women put
together, including; love, passion, betrayal and revenge. Medea's portrayal of human flaws
creates empathetic emotions from the audience. The audience commiserates with Medea's
human flaws as they recognize them in themselves. Medea plays the major role in this play
as she demonstrates many behavioral and psychological patterns unlike any of the other
Greek women in the play; this draws the audience's attention to Medea for sympathy and
respect.


The concept of gender is based on the locality of power present in Medea; this is evident
through Medea's relationship between social context and social expectations; for example
the sympathy of the chorus when Medea feels betrayed by Jason "To punish him, you've cause
enough to grieve." Medea, playing the protagonist challenges power relationships and
confronts the existing gender constructions and patriarchal ideologies in Ancient Greece.
Medea steadily empowers herself and shifts these gender constructions. She gains this
certain power and influence over male characters, such as the childless Aegus and
manipulated them for her own benefit. "If Id not had secret plans? The fool could have me
banished today". Medea was one of the first plays in which powerful and vivid women are
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