Euripides: Barbarism And War

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Barbarism and War Euripides’ challenged the notion of a male dominated society. He used his plays as his platform to challenge society’s norms. Euripides characterized males by showing their barbaric nature. His plays, though contradictory, incorporate his idea of the minimal differences between Bronze Age men and cavemen. Euripides uses his depiction of men to embody the belief that war is fought over the most microscopic possessions. In Women of Troy, Menelaus takes losses in the thousands to possess “a bitch-whore” (Hughes, 263). In Helen, Menelaus takes losses in the thousands to possess “a shadow” (Euripides, 147). Helen is depicted differently between the two plays, but the belief on the male population stays the same. Euripides…show more content…
Menelaus seizes Troy and Helen, but loses thousands of men in the process. This is where Euripides makes his first assertion on the horrific nature of war. Thousands of brothers, sons, husbands, and fathers lost everything for Menelaus to possess his unfaithful wife. Euripides portrays Menelaus as a king who is trying to show how big his sword and might is to his countrymen. This depiction proves the point of barbarism of men. Menelaus caused thousands of homes to be broken up in his country and in Troy because of his own home being broken up. In the Bronze Age, women were considered to be irrational, but Euripides’ representation of females disproves this theory. The confrontation between Hecuba, Helen, and Menelaus is an illustration of Euripides’ stance on gender roles. Menelaus is a shining example of Bronze Age men. In Women of Troy Menelaus says, “No words. I want your death,” (Euripides, 50). Hecuba allows Helen the chance to prove her innocence and gives her due process. Who is irrational in this instance? Menelaus. Euripides is expressing the idea of men being the irrational ones. The war for Helen shows the irrationality of Menelaus and the other men in charge. For one to give up a significant portion of his/her army for one individual is ludicrous. Thus, proving the notion of irrationality on the male species. The only good that comes from war is the…show more content…
Menelaus rages war against Troy over a shadow of his wife. Before Euripides, society believed the male species was dominant and nimble. For Euripides to depict a male leader as dim-witted is a strong assertion. The overall stupidity of Menelaus is an attack on the male population, but for Euripides to depict Menelaus as unremorseful for his actions only adds insult to injury. Menelaus replies to fighting over a shadow as, “God’s will,” (Euripides 148). Remorse is not present when Menelaus is confronted, but rather he blames God. What Menelaus should say is, “I let thousands of my soldiers die because I thought my wife, who was actually in Egypt, left me for a guy who has a lot more to offer than I do.” Euripides displays the idea that the only way men resolve differences is by fighting. This idea is presented in the exchange between Helen and Menelaus when they are figuring out how to escape. Menelaus wants to show his might and says, “Hide me. I’ll kill him inside,” (Euripides 161). Menelaus results to using force and brawn to get his way. Euripides then depicts Helen as resourceful to generate an idea. Helen masterminds a plan to trick the pharaoh. Her idea wants to try and minimize the bloodshed that Menelaus wants. The irony in this situation is astounding. Helen was the purpose in which Greeks and Trojans fought, but in this situation she is trying to minimize the fighting. Helen did

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