The Role of Women in the Greek Society
In the ancient golden days, the society’s main focus was put on the welfare of the male gender whereas the female was always demeaned as being unequal to the male individuals. Male dominance ruled the society as the females were restricted from performing certain activities that were designated for men. The girl child’s primary obligation was to bear children, serve her husband and do household chores. They were considered as the weaker sex and as such they were required to be submissive to their men who always had the final say. Additionally, the females were regarded as inferior and vulnerable. This picture has been clearly portrayed by Medea, as Jason’s wife. She did her duty faithfully and diligently as a wife should. Her love for her husband was true and immeasurable. However, things took a turn for the worst when the man she loved betrayed her. It is with this profound reason that she chose to bravely tell her sad tale to the Chorus women (Euripides & Rex 1).
Marriage is defined as a sacred union between two people who love each other. In other terms, marriage can be described as the evidence and fruit of love. For couples to have a long lasting marriage, then there’s need to maintain trust. Trust and faithfulness are indeed key and eminently vital for any existing relationship. If one party is unfaithful, then the relationship is as good as broken. Jason displays the picture of an untrustworthy husband who inflicted pain and suffering to his wife Medea.
During Medea’s time, women were restricted from utilizing their rights to freedom of speech and expression. It was a norm for women to suffer in silence without receiving any help or support from their counterparts. Medea defies this norm by fully expressing herself to the Chorus women. Through her speech, Medea tells her sad tale to the Chorus women who empathize with her. Indeed, Medea’s pain of betrayal could be felt right from her uttered piercing words as she gave her own story to the Chorus women.
Medea is described as a brave woman whose love for Jason drove her to do inhumane and unimaginable deeds. In the play, Medea portrays a picture of a woman who had to fight against all odds so as to be with the man whom she loved. She did not only offend his family by disobeying their stand but also committed a heinous crime all in the pursuit of love. She murdered her own brother so as to flee and get married to Jason (Euripides & Rex 4). In spite of the sacrifices made by Medea, her actions became invaluable and futile the moment Jason left their matrimonial home to be in another woman’s arms. In spite of her family’s insistence on her not getting married to Jason, Media failed to pay heed to the warnings. She chose to rebel against her own family all in the name of love. As a result of her actions against her family, Medea could longer return to her father’s home. She was thereby forced to live in a land that would remind her of her husband’s worst form of betrayal. She is also forced to take the role of a single mother, thereby being the sole breadwinner.
The traditional society obligated women to stay in their marriages and willing fully and submissively serve their husbands with respect and honor in spite of any betrayals and torture. Through Medea’s speech to Chorus, we are enlightened on how women were harshly treated by their own society. She described how women were forced to become their husband’s possession in marriage and how they were discriminated from participating in any sort of public life as they were all designated to the males (Euripides & Rex 12).As a woman whose role was to please her husband, she is in a distressful situation as she is forced to also step in the big shoes of her husband. She is forced to adapt to another responsibility that the women were forbidden to. Medea finds it extremely difficult and daunting to take care of her children by herself. The thought of this disturbs Medea right to the core. Indeed, taking care of kids singlehandedly could never be a piece of cake.
In her speech, Medea is disgusted that Jason was gladly accepted by Creon, who allows his daughter to get married to Jason while fully knowing that he was another woman’s husband. Creon also gave an order to banish Medea who seemed to interfere with Jason’s plan of marrying Glauce (Euripides & Rex 12). In this case, Medea’s anger towards her husband’s betrayal was regarded as being insignificant and worthless. In spite of having two children who clearly needed the support of their father, Medea’s pleas were viewed to be null and void. This is indeed a disheartening scenario as Medea is viewed as the villain whereas the real villains are Jason, Creon and Glace who knowingly cause extreme pain to the hapless Medea.
It is also a fact that Jason did not fully appreciate the value and sacrifices that were made by Medea. In this case, marrying Glauce was regarded as a leeway for Jason to attain his own selfish ambitions. This is the reason as to why fled from his matrimonial home to marry the daughter of Creon, who comes from a royal family. He betrays his own family so as to marry Glauce, whom he believes will help him to attain a higher social hierarchy status. Jason confesses this to his distressed wife, Medea, whom he proposes to serve as his mistress. Even after Medea’s brave and heroine acts of protecting Jason from being killed by a dragon, Jason still opted for politics and royalty over love and family. Certainly, this can be described as the worst form of betrayal.
Medea cannot be blamed for rightfully being angry at her husband (Euripides & Rex 14). Through her speech, it is clear that revenge was Medea’s only ultimate solution for the pain inflicted upon her by Jason. Even though many may be quick to judge her, Jason and the Creon’s family were the real villains of the story. This is because Jason was commended by Creon to marry her daughter whereas Medea was almost banished from town. In conclusion, although I sympathize with Medea’s situation, I do not support her decision to murder her own children. Therefore, Medea’s last inhumane actions make her as wicked as Jason, all because two wrongs don’t make a right.
Euripides, and Rex Warner. Medea. New York: Dover Publications, 1993. books.google.co.ke/books?id=T2HcDAAAQBAJ&lpg=PP1&ots=OnroH90JOj&dq=Euripides%2C%20and%20Rex%20Warner.%20Medea.%20New%20York&lr&pg=PA14#v=onepage&q&f=false. Accessed 11 March 2017.