Medea – the Abandonment of Gender Roles

In Euripides’ Medea, the protagonist abandoned the gender roles of ancient Greek society. Medea defied perceptions of gender by exhibiting both “male” and “female” tendencies. She was in a position to detach herself from her “womanly” feelings at instances and execute acts that society did not see girls capable of performing. Nonetheless, Medea did not completely abandon her part as a woman and did express many female feelings all through the play.

In ancient Greek society, murder was not generally associated with women. Throughout the play, nevertheless, Medea committed several acts of murder.

We discover that Medea has killed her brother. Medea does not have any guilt about organizing and carrying out the murders of king Creon and his daughter Glauke. As the play develops, the reader realizes that Medea plans to commit infanticide.

I shall murder my kids, these youngsters of mine…if die they will have to, I shall slay them, who gave them birth.(Euripides 207-213)

This contradicts society’s view that women are the givers of life and that males take it away. It is particularly unacceptable because she is the children’s mother. To kill a member of your household was frowned upon in ancient Greece, as it is today.

[Chorus] Feel. You are stabbing your young children. Think…By your knees we entreat you, by all the world holds sacred, do not murder your kids. (Euripides 208)

Medea displays extreme pride, which is stereotyped as a “male” characteristic. She is prepared to sacrifice every thing, like her kids, to restore her reputation. It is a frequent belief that a woman’s weakness is her children, but this is not the case with Medea. Her sense of pride prevails more than her maternal instincts.

Excellent-bye to my former plans…I cannot do it. And but what is the matter with me? Do I want to make myself a laughingstock by letting my enemies off scot-absolutely free? I ought to go via with it…I do comprehend how terrible is the crime I am about , but passion overrules my resolutions …It’s worth the grief…You could not hope, nor your princess either, to scorn my appreciate, make a fool of me and live happily ever soon after. (Euripides 212-219)

Medea seeks vengeance with the exact same forceful determination to rectify the predicament as a man would. A woman seeking revenge challenges society’s view of females as weak and passive. Medea will go to good lengths to hurt Jason for the wrongs he has done to her.

[Chorus]You will slaughter them to avenge the dishonor…

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