Sarah Pomeroy's, Goddesses, Whores, Wives, And Slaves
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Discuss Medea in relation to the historical information on the status of women in 5th century Athens from the excerpts from Sarah Pomeroy's book, Goddesses, Whores, Wives, and Slaves. You may take any approach you like, an of course you do not need to be comprehensive, but your discussion should talk about at least three different issues. Additionally, say something about how reading a work in its historical context may change how an audience reacts to a text.
Sarah Pomeroy’s book provides fresh insight into the life of women in 5th century Greece that help us interpret the play Medea with ancient perspective. With the knowledge of the context one can formulate more accurate judgements about the characters. The characters that appeared insignificant…show more content… They mention that “... marriage could only be dissolved only if it had not produced a son”(61). Clearly Medea fulfilled that criteria and hence Jason’s actions could also be deemed as illegal to some extent. Further in the text, it mentions that “marriage and motherhood were considered the primary goals of every female citizen”(62) and “The birth of a child, especially a son, was considered a fulfillment of the goal of the marriage”(64). This portrays Medea as a perfect wife who has fulfilled everything that was expected of her as a woman and as a wife on top of all she did for Jason before their marriage. However, Jason betrayed her and their oath and hence we can conclude that she wronged Medea in every sense. This helps us bring Medea’s actions into context and somehow justify them. Her vengeful and ravenous self doesn’t seems so out of place if we get a better perspective of her predicament which is further amplified by the view the contemporary society had of divorced…show more content… But the nurse gave off warning signs about her when she mentioned “... she’s relentless and will not put up with being mistreated...” (39 Medea). But it was never clear how a mere housemaid, a nurse had such insights about her mistress. But the book mentions that “... imply a bond between slave and free, for they spend much time together and their lives were not dissimilar”(71). So we can conclude that the high status women and slaves shared lives not so different from each other and were often dependent upon each