Medea

Infanticide & Filicide in Ancient Greece College

In Euripides’ Medea, Plutarch’s Sayings of Spartan Women, Lycurgus and Xenophon’s Spartan Society, it is made clear that filicide is a byproduct of the dichotomy of an honor vs. shame society. Medea, the barbarian wife of a man who remarries in order to gain citizenship, resolves to inflict what she believes to be the same amount of pain and shame onto those who have hurt her. On the other hand, in Plutarch’s more historical approach, albeit still saturated in rhetoric and a type of mythical esteem, Sayings of Spartan Women conveys individual accounts of the pride several female Spartan citizens took in raising brave young men who were ready for battle, as opposed to their grave abhorrence of any offspring whose fearfulness and timidity at war brought them back home. Nevertheless, in Lycurgus, Plutarch deals with Sparta as a whole and illustrates how the city’s laws and practices took preemptive measures in order to avoid any acquisitions of shame by way of a cowardly Spartan. Xenophon culminates the aforementioned notions of honor vs. shame and therefore demonstrates how these actions lead to the obedience and fluidity of Spartan Society. Contextually, this theme is approached in a variety of...

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