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Greek Theatre "Despite The Suppression Of Women Throughout The Plays They Are Still The Stronger Sex."

1712 words - 7 pages

"Despite the suppression of women throughout the plays they are still the stronger sex."

In this essay I will discuss how even though women are treated as if they are second class citizens and are not given the right to free speech, they are still the stronger sex over men. I have based my essay on the plays Iphigenia at Aulis by Euripides and Agamemnon the first play of The Oresteia by Aeschylus.
“If you want the excellence of a man, it’s easy— the excellence of a man is to be capable of taking part in the affairs of the polis, and in doing so to help his friends and harm his enemies, and watch out that he does not suffer anything of that kind himself. But if you want the excellence of ...view middle of the document...

Agamemnon is advised to sacrifice his daughter Iphigenia in order for the winds to blow once again.
“The army’s gathered and ready, and here we sit
at Aulis, without wind. And Kalkhas the seer,
making use of the standstill, said
to sacrifice my daughter Iphigenia to Artemis,
the local goddess, and the launch would happen,
and the Trojans’ destruction—if we sacrificed her.
If we didn’t, none of this would happen.”
Agamemnon is shown for his weakness when he fabricates a lie in order to get his daughter to come to Aulis instead of telling the truth. He says that Achilles, the great Trojan warrior and prince of Phthia, wishes to marry her.
“I sent my wife instructions to send my daughter here,
in order (I said) that she might marry Achilles.
I magnified Achilles’ virtues,
and said that he refused to sail
unless he’d sent a wife from our house
to his home in Phthia.”
Agamemnon seeing the error of his ways tries to send a letter to his wife Clytemnestra saying that the wedding is off however Menelaus intercepts the letter and by the time they realise what they are doing is wrong it is too late and Clytemnestra and Iphigenia have arrived.
Achilles who is known to be a brave warrior shows his fickleness when he vows to defend Iphigenia, primarily more for the purpose of defending his own honour than to save Iphigenia’s life.
“your young girl will not be slaughtered by her father,
since she’s been called my woman. I will not offer your
my person to use in weaving his conspiracies!
My name— even if it did not wield the knife—
will be the murderer of your child.”

Clytemnestra is a complete contrast to her weak and cowardly husband and this is seen very clearly when she stands up to him after she finds out the truth about the sacrifice. The whole situation is caused by Agamemnon not standing up to his brother and refusing to sacrifice his own child for the sake of getting Helen back and restoring Menelaus’ honour.
“And if someone should ask you for what reason you will
kill her,
speak! What will you say? Do I have to speak for you?
So that Menelaus can have Helen. A fine answer,
to give children as payment for a bad woman!
We will be buying the most hateful thing in exchange for
the very dearest!”

Iphigenia is the main proof in the play that despite the suppression of women they are the stronger sex. When she first finds out the truth that she is not to be married but to be sacrificed instead, she pleads with her father to save her but later she consents to her sacrifice, declaring that she would rather die courageously and be known as the saviour of Greece, than be die against her will.
“If Artemis wishes to take my body,
will I, a mortal, stand in the way of a goddess?
No! Impossible! I give my body to Greece.
Make the sacrifice! Eradicate Troy! For a long time to
that will be my monument, my children, my marriage,
my fame!”

No longer is she a child who...

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