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In the characters of Clytemnestra Jocasta Antigone and Medea the ancient Greek playwrights Aeschylus Sophocles and Euripides offer four distinctly different views of the roles which women played in Greek society While women definitely played a role which was subservient to the one played by men it is obvious from these characters that women were seen by the ancient Greeks as capable of being strong intelligent resourceful loyal and heroic These characters also show the modern reader that women represented something powerful to this society which was to be feared and hopefully kept under control Clytemnestra and Medea personify all of the negative qualities attributed to women by the ancient Greeks Medea despite her despicable crime is actually presented in a more favorable light then Clytemnestra however both women are presented as victims of their pride which seems to be the worst sin as far as the Greeks were concerned Jocasta and Antigone represent the positive virtues of loyalty and devotion to the gods Jocasta is the weaker of the two and frankly Antigone is almost too good to be true in her example of heroic virtue and devotion to the gods Together the four present an intriguing picture of womens role in ancient Greece that belies their subservient political status and demonstrates that women had a profound impact on that society Clytemnestra Clytemnestra is the wife of Agamemnon who has been off fighting the Trojan War for ten years The goddess Artemis had left the fleet organized by Agamemnon without wind stranded and unable to proceed against Troy unless Agamemnons daughter Iphigenia was sacrificed to her Agamemnon was faced with the decision of abandoning his war against Troy or killing his own daughter He chose to kill his
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