Can we learn anything from Medea about the Greeks’ attitudes toward foreigners and women?

The Greek tragedy Madea, written by Euripides, in 431 B.C., gives us unique insight into Greek drama, and also the era from which this play was written.  This is an astonishing work, that is easy to follow because it translates well to the English language.  In this play, the character Medea, is betrayed by her husband Jason and thus her life turns to despair.  The pain done to her heart, changed her as a person.

Euripides was somewhat of a skeptic.  He used his plays as a means of criticizing issues and institutions he disagreed with in Greek society.  demonstrating societal issues through plays is a powerful way to make a criticism, and provides example to the audience of the error(s) in their society.

What does Medea tell us about the Greeks’ attitudes towards foreigners and women?  We can see from the text that male citizens of a polis have more respect, and are treated better than the rest of the population; the women and foreigners.  The foreigners are looked down upon and marrying a foreigner was perceived as shameful.

Madea gives us an example of the low treatment of women.  She is taken for granted, and her husband, Jason, leaves her and their family to marry Glauke, daughter of Creon, king of Corinth.  He did this for himself, to earn a higher, more respected position in society.  He did not have the respect for his original wife, Madea, to honor his promises to her.  This initiated the process of Madea being driven mad.  And finally her broken heart and the anger it inspired in her, resulted in her murdering the king and princess or Corinth, and her own children.

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