Feminism and the Classics: Apollo and Dionyses, 1974, page 6

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          and the Eumenides themselves. The first movers and agents of change

‘ are agaih strong—willed women, Electra, Athena, Clytemnaestra,'etc.

Aeschylus makes a point of stressing this. At Agamemnon 35l, the Chorus
describe her male behavior, "woman, you speak gracefully like a shrewd
man (gatf angra_§9phr9n)" and at ll the watchman admires her "man~
planning" heart (androboulon gear), in portraying Clytemnaestra_
Similarly, Sophocles‘ Antigone presents a female change agent,
although the actual tragedy is Creon's. Electra receives an equally

neuter portrayal in her domination of Orestes. Jocasta is the one

"most consciously pressing toward the revelation of the truth in the .'

Oedipus; ' A  -

It is in Euripides, however, that all of these concepts merge,
for it is Euripides who most clearly presents what I feel to be the
basic tension inherent in the Classical world: the conflict 0? East
and west, Euripides was frequently mocked by Aristophanes for peopling
the tragic stage with women. He is called a misogynist by some and the
prototype of feminism by others, both of which extremes overlook his
great central themes, For Euripides employs women as change agents and
catalysts but also as the embodiment of the Dionysian East. Phaedra,
Andromache, Hecuba, Medea, etc., clearly speak to the inability of the
Greek world to assimilate or cope with Eastern modes, morality and

.\

institutions. Medea, whose very name, suggests the problem, sums it up

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best in her address to the women of Corinth: i