Role of Men, Women, and Slaves in Greek Tragedy

  • Created by: gsoning
  • Created on: 01-06-19 10:20
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  • Role of Men, Women, and Slaves in Greek Tragedy
    • In the Bacchae, the Bacchants make up the chorus, they are female worshippers of Dionysus
      • Although under the influence of Dionysus, these bacchants took on the traditional roles of men, such as hunting
        • when Agave kills her son, she refers to him as her 'kill' and wants to be praised for her excellent hunting skills.
          • Women were oppressed in ancient Greek society, so her excitement at 'hunting' could resemble a sense of freedom
          • [Agave] 'I left the shuttles by my loom, and have come to something greater: hunting wild animals with my bare hands!'
            • 'Rejoice in my hunting'
      • As the bacchants were in a nomadic cult, the activities they took part in greatly contrasted to the day-to-day lives of normal greek women as they were typically confined to their own homes
        • The natural order of society was being disrupted, hence Pentheus disagreeing with Dionysus
      • The bacchants were primary worshippers of Dionysus, but on the other hand, they were forced to be. Agave and her sisters were sent to Mt. Cithaeron as a a punishment
    • Jocasta  openly voiced her opinions on oracles in an almost hubristic manner, which could possibly show her freedom within the palace
      • 'So much for prophecy. It's neither here nor there.'
    • Slaves and Soldiers often were the 'messengers' in messenger speeches
      • In the Bacchae, soldiers are sent to Mt. Cithaeron to spy on the Bacchants
        • A messenger also reports back to Pentheus, yet tells him he 'fears for the swiftness' of his moods.
      • In Oedipus Rex, Oedipus  tortures a shepherd to get information out of him.
        • Torture of the lower classes was a common practice
    • Men were dominant in Greek tragedy
      • Monarchy revolved around Pentheus and Oedipus

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