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Gender Roles in Medea by Euripides Essay

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Centuries of traditions has enabled men and women to define gender roles in society. Although some critics declare gender roles do not exist today, others believe they do. In society, men and women are defined by gender roles throughout their activities and emotions. A doctor is typically portrayed by a male while women rear the children and cook for the men. However, although still in existence, today these roles are less obvious but tend to have similar meaning when compared to the past. In ancient Greece, women suffered great hardships. Currently, females work, vote, and run for office. In comparison to ancient Greece, these activities are a phenomenal leap from being under the direct supervision of a male husband.

In Greek society, the role of women was considered to be insignificant compared to the Greek men. The women had very few rights, no room to voice personal opinions, and a very bleak future with few options for a better life. According to Moses Hades, professor of Greek studies, women in ancient Greek plays are known to be the main characters and take the role of the villain, victim, or the heroine. In Euripides’ play Medea, Medea, the main character, plays all these roles. She represents the heroine by helping her husband secure the Golden Fleece prior to their marriage, and then portrays the victim by being betrayed by her husband, and finally the villain by murdering her loved ones. Therefore, Euripides follows the standard format for a Greek tragedy.

Ironically, Medea’s actions are similar to a man when she takes charge of her marriage, living situation, and family life when she devices a plan to engulf her husband with grief. With this in mind, Medea had accepts her place in a man’s world unti...


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...leaving moves Medea into a beggar status. She understands that she does not have authority, money, or power over anyone in the land. This leaves her powerless and desperate. Thereofore, she forms a crafty plan that revolves around herself and reestablishes power and authority.

Even in today’s society, gender roles play a part in how people view the world. Although more important than the gender roles are the emotions that antagonize the psyche of the human. Medea shows how jealousy can lead to revenge and influence bad decisions and ruin or even end lives. Ironically, the decisions she makes to kill her children, leaves Jason helpless much like a Greek wife during this time. She removes the opportunity for him to voice his opinions, needs, and desires. This flip of traditional gender roles shows how gender roles are not a reliable way to view a society.



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