Reasons for Euripides’ Hatred for Women
In the 5th Century, the Greek tragic drama was characterized by the central importance of women. Most ancient Greek plays, except Sophocles’’ Philoktetes, in this period mainly relied on female characters to bring out their themes. In Euripides’ tragic plays, women are in strong opposition to their male counterparts. Euripides portrays women in a negative way, showing them as liars, murderers, law-breakers, bold, and distractors. However, the real Greek women were expected to be humble, silent, and adherent to the societal laws, which mostly allowed men to dominate.
According to Blondell et al., the fact that Euripides was interested only in the transgressive women is a proof of his misogyny (17). Euripides’ Aristophanes was criticized in relation to how women are represented as violators of the law. All tragic plays have this trait, so this is cannot be the basis for charging Euripides with misogyny. However, the fact that Hippolytos had to be re-written, due to public outrage concerning the representation of the central female figure shows that Euripides had crossed the boundaries of the drama conventions, and hence is a proof of his misogyny (29-33).
Euripides is remembered for representing women in his plays as they are in real life and not as heroines as other plays did. He however shows favouritism by complementing men and condemning women. This is a result of his two unhappy marriages, which resulted in his dislike for women, as the former wives failed to keep their marriage vows. In the Greek society, unfaithfulness in marriage, and especially from women, was highly condemned. Being a male dominated society, women in Greece were to submit to the men in their lives. Failure to live up to this called for condemnation. Therefore, Euripides used his tragic plays maybe as a way of letting out his stress and registering his disappointment and avenge on the women in his life, who had failed him.
Blondell, Ruby, Gamel, Mary-Kay, Rabinowitz, Nancy & Vivante, Bella. “Women on the Edge:
Four Plays by Euripides.” New York: Routledge, 2012.
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