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Euripides was accused by his contempories of being a woman hater. Why do you think this was so, and how justified do you think the accusation was?

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  • Essay length: 1703 words
  • Submitted: 18/08/2003
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AS and A Level Classics

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Question

Euripides was accused by his contempories of being a woman hater. Why do you think this was so, and how justified do you think the accusation was? In your answer you should consider not only how Euripides portrays his female characters, but also the sentiments expressed in the plays and the contempory view of women.

Answer

Euripides definitely had an opinion on woman that was not shared by many other play writes. Whether it is hatred or not, women play a major role in a Euripian play. Their role in society of that time was a great contrast to that of the men. Compared to today, women were miles apart from men; they were not even considered citizens of their region.

This is obvious in the chorus where in the Electra, Medea and Hippolytus there is a chorus of women. This was unheard of in the time when the plays were written. A chorus is typically made up of wise men of Athens, therefore making it up of women would in that age, be very controversial. In Medea the chorus side with her and Medea makes the chorus swear to silence.

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