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Sexist Views in The Bacchae

Sexist Views in The Bacchae

Throughout my life, I’ve heard the phrases, “Women shouldn’t serve in the Armed Forces; no, I wouldn’t want a female president; a woman’s place is in the home.” Even though our society is drifting from these extremely sexist views, opinions like these are still widely held. Women were mistreated much the same in the ancient Greek civilizations. The views of our society, regarding the social and sexual roles of women, are mirrored in the ancient Greek tragedy, The Bacchae.

The idea that a woman’s place is in the home is all too common in our culture, just take into consideration the Southern Baptist Convention’s declaration stating wives must be submissive to their husbands. This belief was held strongly in the Greek civilization as well. A woman’s function was to bear and raise children, cook, clean and care for any other needs the family may have. They weren’t entitled to the basic freedoms they deserved. This intolerant view was illustrated in The Bacchae when Pentheus, in a rage, was ranting on about how all the women have deserted their homes to run wild through the dark woods on the mountain (pg 19, ln 17). The imagery associated with the woods is black and evil, yet when Pentheus speaks of the home, he claims the women have “deserted,” as if they were wrongfully leaving their duty. Obviously, he believes the home is the proper place for a woman.

Another very common misconception about women is that they were created for the pleasure of man. The idea that a woman’s body was not her own, merely a possession to be dominated by her master as he wished, is also present in The Bacchae. The instances where the Maenads drank themselves into insensibility then crawled into the bushes to lie down before lusting men shows what lack of control these women had over their bodies. They were continuously dominated by the male god, Dionysus, and the fact that noone spoke against this behavior as being morally wrong only supports the idea that women are objects. It’s absurd viewpoints like these that lead to modern day rape and sexual abuse.

Yes, the sexist views demonstrated in The Bacchae belittle the social and sexual roles of woman, and yes, they may be reflected in our society today, but I do believe we’re progressing above those close-minded, ignorant ways of thinking.

Psychological Analysis of Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown

Psychological Analysis of Young Goodman Brown

There are many approaches that you can take when analyzing literature. In Young Goodman Brown there are many layers to read through. By using the psychological approach to literature, you can see many levels that you may not have noticed while just reading the piece. When using the psychological ideas, you become more intuned into the subtle details produced by the work. Most of the points that reveal themselves, Freud explained through his ideas about consciousness and human sexuality. Using the psychological approach to reading literature, Young Goodman Brown’s layes unfold and the parts better understood.

The opening paragraph to Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown is a prime example of how Freud’s ideas apply to literature. The first and most obvious of the implications is the wife’s name. Because her name is Faith, the first connection that immeadiatly forms is religion. In the beginning of the story the relevance vaguely presents itself, but as you read on the religious connection fits with the rest of the work. Strict Puritanism ruled te way of life through the time that the book emerged. The mention by Hawthorne to the ” pink ribbons of her cap” reach far from appropriate for the time. These ribbons suggest that Faith lacks purity and that she presents herself in a frivolous manner. Later in the writing, more references to Freude’s sexual bases show themselves. The lone lady that Goodman Brown sees standing in the woods turns out to be his Sunday school teacher. She makes some leude comments about Brown’s traveling companion ” being her master”. However these layers contain more than just sex. In the paragraph that Goodman Brown exclaims:

“My Faith is gone!” cried he, after one stupefied moment. “There is no good on earth; and sin is but a name. Come devil; for to thee is the world given.”

This passage examplifies how his wife’s name contains two meanings. First, he becomes upset because he lost her. However, if you apply the psychological approach to the quote, you can see that he also referrs to the fact that he lost his faith in a religious sense. He realizes that because he strayed so much on this night of evil that he can no longer be pure.

The story of Young Goodman Brown contains more than just what you read.

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