• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Feminism in Antigone and Medea

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Feminism in Antigone and Medea Feminism has always been an intense and debated subject. Many renowned authors have written works in favour of it. Two of them were Euripides and Anouilh, who depicted two strong women, Antigone and Medea. In spite of living in fifth century Greece where women had little or no rights at all, they defied men in power. By doing this they proved women's equality to men. In this respect they were both feminists. Both plays show feministic traits and at the same time show anti-feministic ones. In this essay I will investigate these traits. The main theme in Medea is feminism. Through the character of Medea, Euripides promotes his ideas on feminism to the traditional Greek society. Medea is a strong willed woman. She will do anything to get her will and no man can stop her. When she still loved Jason she went as far as killing her own kin for him. When Jason later wants to get rid of her and Creon wants to expel her from the country, she does not let them treat her as a helpless puppy and defeat her. To avenge herself on Jason for betraying her after all she has done for him, and Creon for giving his daughter's hand in marriage to Jason and wanting to expel Medea, she kills not only Creon and his daughter but also her own two sons, just to make Jason suffer even more. ...read more.

Middle

Western cultural tradition has helped assure male rule by constantly associating men with reason, objectivity, logic and the like, while women are linked to the body, matter, evil, emotions, an absence of logic and reason and the like. Medea's behaviour is based on emotions, which is one of the characteristics chauvinists associate women with. Her actions are the result of her strong emotions. She is a passionate person who follows her heart no matter the consequences. When she betrays her father and kills her brother she is blinded by her love for Jason. Later when she is full of fury and rage as a result of Jason's disloyalty she thinks of nothing but revenge. In her outrage she kills among others, two innocent children. She shows traces of evil in her lack of sympathy for others and her selfishness. She is not rational. She does not reflect wisely on her actions and acts impulsively. Having these qualities she does not make a good feministic role model. Anouilh did not write Antigone for feministic purposes as Euripides did. Still it is appreciated by many as a contribution to feminism. This is due to Antigone's strong character. Feminism was a more familiar concept in Anouilh's time i.e. the twentieth century. ...read more.

Conclusion

But, there are also some of Antigone's actions that a feminist would not approve of. For example, that she respects her brothers because they are men. When Creon says: "And later on, when they came home, wearing evening clothes, smoking cigarettes, they would have nothing to do with you; and you thought they were wonderful." Antigone replies: "They were boys and I was a girl." Antigone knows that her brothers were corrupt, but nevertheless she was in awe of them. Antigone tells Ismene that she has spent her entire life cursing the fact that she was a girl. A feminist would say that she should be proud of being a woman. While both women are strong and brave feminists, they are quite different. Antigone is more good-natured, intelligent, rational and humane. She does not hurt anyone but herself willingly, and rebels against Creon for a good cause (her brothers and her own honour) she is therefore a heroine. Medea on the other hand is driven by emotion, she is barbaric, brutal, merciless and cold-hearted, and she is irrational and does not think of the consequences of her acts. Medea murders four innocent people just to get revenge for personal reasons, and is therefore a villain. Therefore Antigone makes a better feministic play than Medea, even though Medea was written for feministic reasons and Antigone by Jean Anouilh was written for political reasons and not feministic ones. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Classics essays

  1. Medea. Throughout the play Medea experiences many agon within herself and with other characters. ...

    On page 55 it becomes clear that, from her actions, her children will most likely be killed anyway and she states; "they must die... and since they must, then I who gave them birth will kill them." (Euripides, 431 BC, p 55).

  2. 'Both Antigone and Creon deserve our sympathy'. Discuss.

    there are some instances in the play when we feel her behaviour is not acceptable. Antigone would certainly not have been considered a conventional character by Sophocles's contemporaries. Her brave and fiery nature is a far cry from the submissive, docile temperament women were expected to have in ancient times.

  1. "Do you think that Euripides intended us to sympathise with Medea?"

    she says very vindictively: "Today three enemies I shall strike dead: Father and Daughter; and my husband." We lose a bit of sympathy for Medea her, firstly because we know she has lied to Creon and secondly because Creon comes across as a nice man, he lets Medea stay against his better judgement because he feels sorry for her.

  2. 'Antigone' by Jean Anouilh.

    Again, Creon goes to discover the cause of Antigone's actions, questioning her religious beliefs and if it was these beliefs that caused her to go ahead with the burial even thought she knew she was defying his edict. At first Antigone claims that it was her beliefs that motivated her

  1. hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. is this a more apt description ...

    There are similarities between the two women, but at the same time there are many differences. Both are scorned women, betrayed by their husbands, and both want to get revenge, but they go about it in different ways.

  2. Who made the greatest contribution to the Athenian Constitution?

    Thirdly, I made selection by lot the usual process of selection for official posts (apart from archon and general, that is), as I thought this was the most just and democratic way to choose a government. Finally, from the year 501 BC onwards, a board of 10 generals or Strategoi

  1. Research into businesses involving food, clothes or hairdressing.

    They also do car insurance, loans and much more. This business only tries to make a profit and will only sell goods at below cost if they have to, for example if there is a lot of stock of one item and not that many customers are buying the item

  2. Pericles and Athens in the 5th century BC

    These colonnades were almost finished in the year 432 BC and had two wings, the northern one serving as picture gallery. The temple of athene nike: Begun in 432 BC Finished 421 BC Goddess of Victory -especially against Sparta Stature of athene promachos; Phidias' gigantic bronze statue of ("she who

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work