Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Medea's role in the play leads to increased hatred towards her

After our debate today and reading Medea, it is hard not to notice the major role Medea plays in the play despite being a woman.  As said before in class, women did not usually play big roles in Greek society.  However, in the play Medea, Medea seems to play a huge role.  This huge role she plays, in my opinion, only helps to lead to her downfall.  King Creon of Corinth views her as the "bad guy" in the divorce between her and her husband Jason after he leaves her.  She is viewed by him as dangerous, and he wants to exile her.  Even Jason is not appreciative of all the sacrifices she made such as abandoning her homeland and killing her brother in order to be with him.  I think that if Medea would have been a male character, people would have been much more appreciative of her and easier on her.  People are harder on her for her actions due to the fact that she is a woman.  Women during Greek society were not treated equally with men.

5 comments:

Tyler Dean said...

I have to agree, because, as we said in class today, women had no place in Greek society outside of the home. Because Medea spoke her mind and disrespected THE KING and his family, she outraged everyone except, of course, her friends in Iolcus. If it would have been a man disrespecting another man, it wouldnt be a big deal. but because it is a woman steeping out of line and insulting men, it is seen as terrible by the citizens and royal family. I believe her guts and confidence are the reason for her downfall.

Ian J said...

Medea, in addition to being a woman, is also a foreigner. She has come from another country and this only means that she is looked down upon with more disdain. I believe that Medea really brings her downfall upon herself. She acts in an irrational manner because she was "jilted" by her husband. Her irrational act was killing her children. It was completely unnecessary. She not only destroyed any family ties she previously had in her home island of Colchis, but she also destroyed any friendships and family ties in Iolchous. Medea brought her tragic downfall (not literally the "tragic downfall" seen in Greek dramas) through her irrationality.

TSHAH said...

I agree with the fact that it was unusual to have women play such a big role in Greek Plays. But I disagree that her "huge role" is what leads to her downfall in this play. I believe that her flaw as a human is a result of the characteristics that women were associated with during the Greek period such as irrationality and only being significant for childbearing (Our Arts and Ideas books depicts this image of women near the 5th Century BCE). Medea's irrationality in saying things like "I only want to die" (Line 224.), shows how she overreacted to the situation and instead of resolving the affair that her husband had, she seeks revenge upon Jason. Medea's is so rash in her decisions that she immediately turns to use her children as pawns in her plot to seek revenge…what kind of person kills her children to seek revenge…In the end play, Medea succeeds in her plan, so she doesn't technically have a fall, but rather a flaw in the personality women were suppose to have. Jason is the tragic hero in this play as he is the one who has the real “fall” due to his indifference towards Medea’s feelings along with his rash actions as he marries without consulting Medea about his new marriage.

Mitchell D said...

It's obviously no secret that women in Greek society at the time the play was written had a less important role than men. They were expected to stay in the home and were treated as second class citizens. This could have led some men to disregard females and their emotions. The play could have been a message from Euripides that women DO have emotions and are real people. However I don't think it was necessarily a play honoring women because Madea committed such horrible acts (she puts the "mad" in "Madea.") I don't know if it was discussed in the debate, but one of the topics was reviewing how men would see women after the play. I'm not saying Euripides was saying "watch out, women are all crazy, manipulative killers who should be monitored at all times, keep an eye on them." But he was showing the actual power women have and what they are capable of, and the men should have realized this. Who knows, this play could have stopped one or two men from cheating on their wives for fear of awakening another Madea.

Ben Bonner said...

I'm not sure its fair to say that people treated Medea more harshly because of her gender, I'd argue the opposite. I think that if a man were to have offended another man, it probably would have been resolved violently. Medea however, is only exiled. Not only that but Kreon originally orders her to leave immediately but because of her pleas and despite his better judgement, she is allowed to stay an extra day, which of course then leads to the chaotic events which follow.