"Medea" by Euripides, the Embodiment of the New Female in Greek Society.

Essay by jojoma32University, Bachelor'sA+, August 2003

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In Euripides' Medea, the protagonist, portrayed as the main character, abandoned the gender roles of ancient Greek society. As a result of this, Euripides invented a new version of the gender "female." Medea defied perceptions of gender by exhibiting "male" characteristics while existing in the bounds of the "female" mentality. Medea brings a sense of manly courage to woman's gender by slaying Creon and Creusa. She brings power and hubris, decidedly male characteristics, to a woman's role by slaying her own children, in a society where women's identity was dependent on having a husband and bearing children. Finally, Medea does not commit suicide, as do the other Greek "heroines" of the time but she takes on male behavioral characteristics as she exhibits intelligence and an ability to control herself emotionally as she designs her plot for retribution. Medea is determined not to let herself become the traditional female victim in a Greek tragedy. She insists on her right to do what her male counterparts have traditionally done in the past.

In ancient Greek society, murder is commonly associated with male protagonists, in fact, the crimes that Medea commits are no worse than the kinds of butchery committed by the great male heroes of tragedy and epic commonly associated with women. One of these crimes is the courageous slaying of her brother which she claims she has done for the sake of Jason, lamenting, "Oh My Father! Oh my country! In what dishonor / I left you, killing my own brother for it" (6, 24-25). She further goes on to justify and rationalize her plans for the murder of Creon and his daughter Glauke, and she does not have any remorse but feels it is just retribution for her dishonor. "If I can find the means or devise...