Medea v. Lysistrata: Matriarchs in Patriarchal Greece College

The plays Medea and Lysistrata both portray title characters that are women in Ancient Greece. In each of these plays the title characters feel they must confront the patriarchal society in which they live. The men of Ancient Greece see the women as the lesser gender. The women’s place is at home taking care of her husband or father; there are no places of influence for women in Ancient Greece, outside the home. This impotence is a major factor of Medea’s slip into mindless revenge, and also on Lysistrata’s grand idea for achieving peace in Greece. Both of these women use the weaknesses of the men around them to work against the patriarchal society in different ways and for different goals. These two plays can be used together to gather a sense of how women were considered in Ancient Greece.

In Medea, gender inequality is immediately exposed by Jason’s betrayal of Medea. When Jason discards Medea, out of hand, for no reason other than to further his own name, by marring a rich princess, it is shown how little attention is paid to the needs of the woman. Medea tells Jason that if he “were honest, [he] ought first to have won [her] over, not got married behind [her] back” (ℓℓ 533-534). Jason...

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