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Gender Roles in "Seven Against Thebes" by Aeschylus

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Introduction

Gender Roles in Seven Against Thebes The gender roles play an important part in Seven Against Thebes and the differences in our cultures from Greek culture. The gender roles differ greatly from today's standards. To better understand Aeschylus' play, differences in ways of thinking must be taken into account. The chorus starts out lamenting, near hysterical, and disordered. After Eteokles accused them of hindering, more than helping their cause. Eteokles tells the chorus of women to not lament on the tragedy they might suffer, to ignore the fact that the city could be sacked could lose, and to ignore the fact that they have very little effect on the eventual outcome of the fight. Eteokles wants them to take male characteristics, to cheer the troops on, like modern-day cheerleaders. He claims they are doing more damage than good by whining to the gods about how horrible their lives would be if Thebes were taken and how grateful they would be if it were not. ...read more.

Middle

They point out that females have the worst lot if the city is ransacked and that if would be better to die in the field with glory that be subject to rape and the desecration of their homes they had worked hard on to keep up. A housewife derives her identity from how well she keeps her house, which would be destroyed if the city were ransacked. Females in Western society can get their identity from their ability to keep a house but there are many more places such as a career to give her identity. The men are wounded and die, whereas the females are wounded repeatedly by rape and batterment. They are conscious during the brutal pillage, unless they are lucky enough to die. In our society, gender roles do not make females so dependent upon a protector for their safety. By being more independent, they have control over their future. ...read more.

Conclusion

It seems that she does what is expected, and bows to the intelligence and authority of Eteokles. Antigone is the only one who actually rebels against the authority and she pays for it with her life in Antigone. The chorus agrees "to shape their prayers as these formulas require"(33) yet they will still be afraid and nothing Eteokles says will really change that. Eteokles can not possibly understand their fear because he faces death on the battlefield with glory, not repeated physical, mental, and emotional abuse. Without an understanding of the gender roles in Seven Against Thebes and the differences in the roles from modern Western culture, Aeschylus' meaning of the play is distorted. Constance Baker Motley the first black woman in the US to become a federal judge states "Something which we think is impossible now is not impossible in another decade." The change over time from the Greeks is a very pronounced difference, what will it be 100 years from now? Celine Thomerson Human Situation Dr. Price 1 ...read more.

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