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Medea a play by the Greek playwright Euripides explores theGreek-barbarian dichotomy through the character of Medea a princessfrom the barbarian or non-Greek land of Colchis Throughout theplay it becomes evident to the reader that Medea is no ordinary womanby Greek standards Central to the whole plot is Medeas barbarianorigins and how they are related to her actions In this paper I amattempting to answer questions such as how Medea behaves like a femalehow she acts heroically from a male point of view why she killed herchildren if she could have achieved her goal without killing them ifthe murder was motivated by her barbarian origins and how she dealswith the pain of killing her childrenAs an introduction to the play the status of women in Greek societyshould be briefly discussed In general women had very few rights Inthe eyes of men the main purposes of women in Greek society were to dohousework such as cooking and cleaning and bear children They couldnot vote own property or choose a husband and had to be representedby men in all legal proceedings In some ways these Greek women werealmost like slaves There is a definite relationship between thissubordination of women and what transpires in the play Jason decidesthat he wants to divorce Medea and marry the princess of Corinthcasting Medea aside as if they had never been married This sort ofactivity was acceptable by Greek standards and shows the subordinatestatus of the woman who had no say in any matter like thisEven though some of Medeas actions were not typical of the averageGreek woman she still had attitudes and emotions common among women For instance Medea speaks out against womens status in societyproclaiming that they have no choice of whom to marry and that a mancan rid themselves of a woman to get another whenever he wants but awoman always has to keep her eyes on one alone 231-247 Though itis improbable that women went around openly saying things
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