Three Female Characters in Greek Tragedies

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Jim Creus Mrs. Baldi

English IV 2/18/97

Three Female Characters in Greek Tragedies

In the times of the ancient Greeks, women had an unpretentious role. They were expected to do take on the accepted role of a woman. In most cases, a woman's role is restricted to bearing young, raising children, and housework. In Sophocles' Oedipus the King, Antigone, and Medea, the dominant female characters impacted upon men with authority and political power. It is an inescapable fate that one of these characters will fall, and that the Gods have control over everyone's fate. Each dominant female character portrays her willpower and commitment to their beliefs. This is what leads to the inevitable tragedy.

In Oedipus the King, Jocasta, is Oedipus' wife and the sister of Creon. She became a part of doomed Theban dynasty when she married Laius, the King of Thebes. As a result, the marriage had brought together two branches of the family of Cadmus and seemed to guarantee political strength. She became disappointed because she was unable to produce an heir to the throne. Seeking a solution, Lauis went to the oracle at Delphi and asked how the proble might be overcome. Instead, the oracle proclaimed that the son born to Jocasta would be his murderer. Upon hearing the prophecy, Lauis rejected all women. This infuriated Jocasta and she had gotten Lauis drunk, and slept with him. This proves that Jocasta refuses to be outdone, even by her husband. When Jocasta had given birth to a baby boy (Oedipus), Lauis had it sent away by a messenger to die of exposure high in the mountains. A shepherd discovered the boy and gave it to his master King Polybus.

As years...