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Medea a play by the Greek playwright Euripides explores the Greek-barbarian dichotomy through the character of Medea a princess from the barbarian or non-Greek land of Colchis Throughout the play it becomes evident to the reader that Medea is no ordinary woman by Greek standards Central to the whole plot is Medeas barbarian origins and how they are related to her actions In this paper I am attempting to answer questions such as how Medea behaves like a female how she acts heroically from a male point of view why she killed her children if she could have achieved her goal without killing them if the murder was motivated by her barbarian origins and how she deals with the pain of killing her children As an introduction to the play the status of women in Greek society should be briefly discussed In general women had very few rights In the eyes of men the main purposes of women in Greek society were to do housework such as cooking and cleaning and bear children They could not vote own property or choose a husband and had to be represented by men in all legal proceedings In some ways these Greek women were almost like slaves There is a definite relationship between this subordination of women and what transpires in the play Jason decides that he wants to divorce Medea and marry the princess of Corinth casting Medea aside as if they had never been married This sort of activity was acceptable by Greek standards and shows the subordinate status of the woman who had no say in any matter like this Even though some of Medeas actions were not typical of the average Greek woman she still had attitudes and emotions common among women For instance Medea speaks out against womens status in society proclaiming that they have no choice of whom to marry and that a
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