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Loyal Disobedience – A Social Tract of Euripides in Medea and Helen

Loyal Disobedience-A Social Tract of Euripides

In ancient Greece the females were considered to be conniving and deceiving whisperers, and men almost never trusted their wives. The ideal woman was an obedient and placating wife. They believed that the female should be strong but still yield to the power of the male in charge, whether it was older brother, father, or husband. Euripides often used females in uncommon ways; he did not simply show them as complacent animals. Women in Euripides’ plays were used for social commentary. They were not just simple characters; they could be both agathos and kakos. The females in the works of Euripides were extremely strong and devious and they were loyal but at the same time hypocritical.

Ancient Greco society contained a vast amount of gods, demigods, and other godlike beings. Even though it was widely known what females should be like, the gods themselves did not emulate this. Hera was not obedient to Zeus. There are other contradictory goddesses: the goddess of Peace, and the goddess of War. In the time of Euripides there was a double standard.

In both Medea and Helen, the title characters are disobedient females. They do not listen to the males around them. In ancient Greece it was not acceptable for a female tolive by herself. They believed that females should be the servant, or the subjugated property of a male. Females relied on men for their protection but in return they gave their loyalty. What might have been seen as obedience, most likely was loyalty. Men might have thought they had an obedient wife but this was not the case.

Menelaos is shipwrecked in Egypt after a long and arduous j…

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…allowed to break their physical bonds, i.e. kill the children.

To Euripides, women were in no way obedient. He believed that women were loyal to those who provide for them, but if you cut the provisions you will lose their loyalties. In both Helen and Medea the title character is a strong and independent woman. They are loyal to their husbands, but just so long as their husband reciprocates the loyalty. They were loyal but disobedient. If the connection is broken, they will not listen. A man might think he has an obedient wife, but it is most likely loyalty.

Works Cited

Ancient Greek Women in Athens. 20 January 2002.

Marschke, J. The Roles of Women in Greek Tragedies. 20 January 2002.

The Softhearted Humanity of Bartleby the Scrivener

The Softhearted Humanity of Bartleby the Scrivener

What is to be said or done about the many “Bartlebys” of the world? They come in many shapes and sizes, and are misunderstood and boggled about for different reasons, but they all trigger a sense of softhearted humanity in all they touch. Herman Melville’s Bartleby lets the reader make what they please concerning the baffling scrivener who, quite simply stated throughout the story, “would prefer not to” do just about anything. Yet his employer just can not seem to get angry, for Bartleby does not refuse to work, he simply, and seemingly sadly, states that he would rather not perform his instructed duties. He does not say it in vain, but rather in sadness. There is something about Bartleby that calms the reader, yet makes them slightly angry over Bartleby’s persistent stubbornness.

The narrator felt calm but somewhat perplexed by Bartleby’s impassive declines. Although the narrator, an attorney, employed quite a strange few of scriveners to work under him, Bartleby was by far the most complex, for each time his employer requested he examine a copied paper, Bartleby would reservedly reply, “I would prefer not to”, and proceed with his copying. “I looked at him steadfastly. His face was leanly composed; his gray eyes dimly calm. Not a wrinkle of agitation rippled him. Had there been the least uneasiness, anger, impatience or impertinence in his manner…had there been anything ordinarily human about him, doubtless I should have violently dismissed him from the premises.” This quote suggests the special influence Bartleby possesses; the mark he makes on a mere man of the same species, and on of a sound mind. And the lawyer even states, “…

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… “I would prefer not to, but I am not particular” was his ambiguous reply. The narrator did beyond what most good-hearted people would have done for Bartleby, and finally, he sadly concluded, “I think he is a little deranged.”

Humanity no doubt affected both Bartleby and the narrator. In those dead letters Bartleby handled, he must have seen humanity and inhumanity alike. Those dead letters left Bartleby dead inside and let nothing matter to him thereafter. He may as well preferred not to live, and the attorney who desperately tried to make Bartleby see sanity again was too late and of no use. Something so simple and innocent turned out so sad and unclear. I know exactly why the last line of Bartleby was printed to say “Ah, Bartleby! Ah, humanity!” Melville wanted to leave me wondering how many Bartlebys there are and what their stories are.

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