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The Women's Power Against Patriarchat In Medea

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Euripides highlights the idea that manipulation comes from ones great ambition to seek a vengeance. Medea has the most extreme desire to accomplish her revenge on Jason after he ‘betrayed [Medea] and his own children for a princess’ bed.’ Euripides makes good use of foreshadowing to make it clear to the audience of Medea’s extreme and passionate desire to accomplish her revenge “It’s clear that this anger of hers will grow; soon enough her grief like a gathering cloud will be kindled by it and burst in storm.’ Medea ultimately stops at nothing and manipulates anyone in the way of her path in seeking her revenge, thus she deceives Creon by contorting his values and making him question his role as a loving father ‘For myself I do not mind if I go into exile,’ Medea lies. ‘It is the children being in trouble that I mind.’ Medea plays Creon’s emotions, telling him that as a father he needs to have some sympathy for a mother trying to give and provide her children with comfort.

Medea also plays on Creon’s misogyny, knowing that although he is terrified of her, if she plays the role of the weak, helpless woman, he will be more easily bent to her will. Additionally, Medea’s great fury and determination leads her on a destructive path where she stops at nothing and burns anyone in her path to get what she wants. Medea pretends to apologize to Jason and sends her children along with the poisoned robe and crown as a gift to Glauce ‘I’ll send her gifts, the finest in the world: a finely woven dress and a crown of beaten gold, the boys will take them.’ Therefore, Medea uses her own shallowness against Jason, his unwarranted pride and his need for domination. She is playing the fawning and obedient lady, to the delight and pleasure of her husband, and Jason’s blindness to all of this is what allows Medea to fully deceive and manipulate everyone to her will. Euripides asserts that although using manipulation as way to achieve ones revenge will most often result in a struggle for acceptance.

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Euripides demonstrates the multiple different ways in which manipulation comes about as a result of the unequal gender roles in this patriarchal society. Medea takes place in a male-dominated society, a society that allows Jason and Creon to casually and brutally cast Medea aside. However, Medea makes use of her role as a powerless women and uses it to convince Creon to let her stay in Corinth one more day so she can carry out her revenge plan on Jason. Medea says to Creon, “Oh, I am ruined, utterly ruined! Oh, misery’ In this moment Medea is victimizing herself as a woman that has been betrayed by the one and only man that should be loyal to her, her husband. Furthermore, Medea abandons the gender stereotypes in society through exhibiting both male and female characteristics. At times, she has been able to separate herself from her motherly impulses and execute actions that society has not seen women able to do, allowing her to deceive others by doing what they’d least expect. This is seen through Euripides use of animal imagery and the way that multiple different characters perceive her, Jason describes Medea as having a ‘nature more savage than Tuscan Scylla’s.’ and essentially highlights her difference to how women were typically viewed in society. Instead of being characterised as meek and nurturing, she is painted by Euripides as a ‘lioness who takes the lives of children.’ Overall, Medea’s ability to break down the gender roles in society displays her willingness and power to manipulate others around her, she defies all the odds of what people think she should be and thus allows her to brutally manipulate everyone without them having any idea of her next move against them. Medea symbolises a smart woman stuck in a world of men. In the end, throughout her fight for vengeance, her cunning ways became her ultimate weapon against others. Therefore, Euripides asserts that the greatest power rests, without a doubt, in intelligence.

Euripides utilizes the theme of power and dominance to assert how manipulation is played out against multiple characters. Medea, being a mighty powerful sorcerous, uses her powers to get her way and ultimately plays on the fear of those around her. First of all, Medea plays to Creon’s pity, and to the old king’s costly underestimation of the sorceress. Medea uses her divinity and the power she holds from the gods to persuade Creon to let her stay in Corinth one more day and completely manipulates him by convincing him of her good intentions ‘you sound harmless, but in your heart I am terrified you are plotting some evil.’ Medea’s power and the way in which she manipulates others is symbolically displayed through Euripides use of the poisoned crown, symbolizing the ultimate power and high regard in society. Medea uses the crown to execute the first phase of her revenge against those who have wronged her “the golden coronet resting on her head released a wondrous stream of devouring fire.’ this once again asserts Medea’s strength and dominance as a women in a male dominated society. Furthermore, Medea manipulates others by instilling fear in those around her to essentially get her own way. The nurse describes her as ‘no ordinary women’ and that ‘no one who makes an enemy of her will win an easy victory.’ this asserts to the audience the power Medea has over those around her and that even those loyal to her are fearful of ‘[the] cloud she will ignite as her fury grows.’ This further exemplifies her ability to manipulate anyone onto her side, thus she wins both the chorus and the nurses sympathy ‘quote (look in book)’. Euripides is trying to demonstrate that the misuse of extreme and dangerous power will generally result in the loss of that power.

In conclusion, Euripides idea that there are many characters who use manipulation and deceit to get their own way, although Medea was much more cunning and brutal in her approach, resulting in success and victory for her. Euripides exemplifies this idea through the ways in which manipulation comes as a result of unequal gender roles in a patriarchal society, how manipulation is executed through ones true desire and determination to seek a vengeance, the way others are able to manipulate through the use of great divinity and power and how manipulation most often occurs after some major form of betrayal. Ultimately Euripides is emphasizing that playing on the weaknesses of others and connecting with them on a personal level will most likely come with a celebratory triumph.

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The Women’s Power Against Patriarchat In Medea. (2021, August 31). Edubirdie. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-womens-power-against-patriarchat-in-medea/
“The Women’s Power Against Patriarchat In Medea.” Edubirdie, 31 Aug. 2021, edubirdie.com/examples/the-womens-power-against-patriarchat-in-medea/
The Women’s Power Against Patriarchat In Medea. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-womens-power-against-patriarchat-in-medea/> [Accessed 5 Oct. 2022].
The Women’s Power Against Patriarchat In Medea [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Aug 31 [cited 2022 Oct 5]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-womens-power-against-patriarchat-in-medea/
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