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GBA final - Daniel Wing Great Books of Antiquity Final...

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Daniel Wing Great Books of Antiquity Final Paper May 13, 2008 Greek and Roman literature has stood the test of time because of its quality and its relevance to every day life. The writers always imbued their plays and stories with wit and cunning words, and they always had a point. One of the many reason Greek and Roman plays were written was to comment on the current state of affairs within society. Sometime they would shine a good light on the current status quo, but more often then not the readers were reading plays of corruption, deceit, and a struggle for power. This can be seen very clearly in both the works of Euripides and Aristophanes; the former having written the great tale known as Medea and the former having written the infamous Lysistrata . These are both tales of women who are being repressed by men in one- way or another. They both tell the tale of women looking to overcome the grip of the men they are married to or belong to. In Greek and Roman society, women had barely any rights and privileges. They were seen as sexual objects, meant to take care of the house, the family, and the man. Their opinions and words were never listened to or valued, and after a long while, many of these Greek and Roman women just could not handle it anymore. The main characters of both a long while, many of these Greek and Roman women just could not handle it anymore. The main characters of both Medea and Lysistrata , both of whom lend their names to their respective pieces of literature, are also both women who are being repressed by the men in their lives. While the different authors take drastically different paths to discuss the plights of women, they both seem to get
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to the same point. They both show how these women were challenged in some way by the way society was run, and both authors set out to comment of the social injustices of the time. Medea is a social commentary concerning the character of Medea, who is married to Jason. She is a sorceress who was originally from an off shore island, but now resides with her husband in Corinth. She has given birth to two children with Jason, whom she helped steal the Golden Fleece as part of his many trials and tribulations. Together, the two parents and their two kids were later exiled from their other home after being accused of murder. They found relief in Corinth, where they went on to become somewhat famous people who held a great place in society. Since their move to Corinth and their upward rise in society, Jason decided to leave Medea and the children for Glauce, whose father Creon is the king of Corinth. Jason does this out of greed so he can better his own life and stature within society, leaving his wife and children to fend for themselves. This play concerns itself with the maltreatment of women, using Medea to convey that point through the trails she will face. She is a strong, cunning, sharp-witted woman who was ultimately betrayed by a man and left in an utter state of despair.
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