Why did Euripides Hate Women?
Euripides, unlike most ancient Greek writers, had a different perception of women. Most people consider him as having great hatred for women. Whether this was hatred or not, Euripides used women in his plays to perform important roles. However, in all his works, Euripides portrays women in a negative light.
Euripides’ hatred for women can be attributed to various reasons. First, Euripides was born in a Greek society at a time when gender roles were to be strictly adhered to. Judgement was passed on people with regard to their adherence to the laws, which highly drew from gender roles as standards of conduct. Women in this era were expected to be homemakers, and make good wives and mothers, under the rule of their husbands. Therefore, a deviation from this norm would lead to strict sanctions against the women (Powell 4). In Euripides’ Medea, Medea serves as an ancient feminist, denouncing the strict gender roles imposed on women by the society. However, Euripides brings out the “feminist” as a lunatic, who even kills her own children. To an extent, Euripides portrayed women in negative light to emphasize that women should stick to their place in society, and not seek equality with men, as this makes them outcasts (Powell 8).
Euripides’ hatred for women can also been associated with the events in his personal life. Euripides’ personal life was characterized by considerable controversies, judging from the different rumours about his parentage, youth, and marriage. For instance, it is believed that Euripides broke from his first and second marriages because of the infidelity of his wives (Powell 5). This successive unfaithfulness by his wives might have led him to perceive all women in the context of his wives, and therefore, portray them negatively in his plays. Therefore, Euripides hatred for women was influenced by the circumstances he faced in his personal life, the interactions he had with women, as well as the social conditioning from the society in which he lived.
Powell, Anton. “Euripides, Women and Sexuality.” London: Routledge, 2012.
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