Euripides’ Medea reflects a woman’s inner world and addresses the troubles of females regarding their freedom. The given speech demonstrates Medea’s history of struggle with members of the opposite sex. She emphasizes that a woman’s happiness or well-being in life is highly dependent on the chance of getting a decent and good man. Throughout the text, she claims that being a man is far better than being a woman.
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However, it is critical to address that Euripides does not imply that women are unfortunate. On the contrary, he wants to illustrate how they perceive their existence and do not understand the hardships of being a man. Euripides aims to show women’s perspective and demonstrate that they underestimate men’s issues.
The speech given by Medea can be interpreted as an opinion of most women about the patriarchic system and how their liberty is reliant on the other party. In the beginning, she highlights the fact that a woman can only be happy if she meets a decent man. It is important to note that Medea says, “And he, my husband, has turned out wholly while” (Euripides et al. 8). She wants to point out that her circumstances were not positive.
Medea says, “take for our bodies a master; for not to take one is even worse” (Euripides et al. 8). Here, Euripides attempts to show how women feel trapped and dependent on men in order to survive and feel protected. In addition, she states, “A good one or bad one; for there is no easy escape” (Euripides et al. 8). The author tries to illustrate that a woman cannot leave a marriage, even if it does not bring satisfaction or happiness. Therefore, Euripides demonstrates that females are forced to be with a male, and once she is bound to a companion, she cannot get out of this partnership.
Moreover, the speaker addresses the privileges and freedom of being a husband, whereas a wife is not able to do the same. Medea says, “But we are forced to keep our eyes on one alone” (Euripides et al. 9). She claims that a man can enjoy his spare time with his friends and colleagues, whereas a woman is socially restrained. Later, she states, “But I am deserted, a refugee, thought nothing of by my husband” (Euripides et al. 9). Medea is trying to compare herself with a prisoner, chained to her male master. Lastly, she says, “I would very much rather stand three times in the front of battle than bear one child” (Euripides et al. 9). In other words, she is trying to claim that a man’s struggles and duties are not as difficult as a woman’s hardships.
In conclusion, it is important to note that Euripides had two goals in the given piece of speech, which is to show women’s perspective and how they underestimate the hardships of men. The given statement is an honest expression of Medea’s thoughts and opinion on patriarchic inequality. However, Euripides is attempting to convey a different message, where he shows the females’ perspective and how they dismiss the struggles men are forced to go through.
The state of affairs during that time was in favor of men, but the current circumstances are significantly better. Nevertheless, it is also true that previously, males had more problems than now, which means that women are not unfortunate, but all people had troublesome lives. A female cannot comprehend the realities of war and battles, where people express the most violent and merciless behavior. Thus, she cannot compare it with a naturally occurring activity, such as giving birth.
Euripides et al. Euripides’ Medea. GreekDrama Co., Ltd, 1985.