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Men & Women - Euripides Medea

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Victoria Wohl

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Men & Women – Eurpides Medea  Medial figure (woman & barbarian & witch)  She is in conflict with Jason (who is the complete opposite of her)  This play was performed for the first time at City Dionysia in 431 BCE  Assumed that in this play Greeks would come across more favourably (watched by Greek males)  Women were not full citizens so would not have attended  This play was used to build confidence in men o Men are brave and rational, women are not  Depictions of strong, powerful women in Greek tragedy o Equal to or superior to men  Question of how men would respond to seeing this on stage – what did it offer to him  These women were often punished for their power and independence o Can be seen as a moral lesson to both men and women  Plays with this theme don’t work at the theatres unless the men can build a connection with the women on the stage  These plays allow the audience to enter into the mind of the other o Allowed men to imagine what life would be like as an other  Medea would have been a Scythian (from Colchis) o Talked about as savage, compared to a tiger o Jason says that she should be thankful to him for opening her up to Greek culture  The play highlights the fact that she is an exile o No home/community o Exiled from Colchis, about to be exiled from Corinth Myth of Jason and Medea  The Argonauts were sent to get the Golden Fleece from King Aeetes in Colchis o The father of Medea  King Aeetes gives them a number of tasks to perform in exchange for the Fleece  Medea uses her magic powers to help him complete the tasks and then to help them escape o She inherited her powers from her grandfather (Helios) and her aunt (Circe)  By betraying her father and then cutting up her brother to help the Argonauts escape, she is no longer able to return home to Colchis  Because only the child of 2 Greek parents could be citizens, Jason and Medea’s children could be citizens of Greece and inherit the kingship o In his mind, this relationship was ‘useless’  Jason leaves her for Glauce, the daughter of the king of Corinth o Medea, heartbroken, poisons Glauce, killing Creon (the king) in the process o She then kills the 2 children she has by Jason  She relied on Jason for her safety and protection, without him she is like a metic  Once Jason betrays her she has no sponsor and can no longer stay in Corinth  Kyrios – the “master” of a woman o Every woman needed to have a male guardian at all times o Father, brother, husband, son o A woman could not represent herself politically/ legally/in business o Women cannot own their own property o Women could never be full citizens  Medea’s situation represents to some degree the situation of women on a whole o Women only have their husbands to turn to, exiles in their own homes o Women can be seen as xenos (strangers) in their own homes  Are not citizens and do not have the same rights as citizens  Medea is offered xenia (hospitality) by Aegeus, the king of Athens o They exchange xenia for her magic (fertility for Aegeus) o Th
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