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Women outside the palace

University of Florida Institutional Repository
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WOMEN OUTSIDE THE PALACE: EURIPIDEAN WOMEN AND THEIR SPACE By JEANNIE THANH NGUYEN A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2006

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Copyright 2006 by Jeannie Thanh Nguyen

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iii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS My deepest thanks must go first to the pr ofessors of my committee, Dr. Karelisa Hartigan, Dr. Konstantinos Kapparis, a nd Dr. David Young, for their comments and suggestions that have made this thesis my work of art. I am especially grateful to Dr. Hartigan for her instruction, insight, patience, and especially chastisement. She has made me love being a scholar of Cl assics. Heartfelt thanks also go to Ms. Druscilla Gurahoo, who has always saved me when I find myself in a mess. I would like to express my greatest appreciation to my parents, sist er, and brother, who have supported and encouraged me through every endeavor. I w ould be lost without them. I am also extremely grateful to Generosa, David, and Shannon for their ideas and much-welcomed distractions—they have kept me sane. Fina lly, I am especially indebted to Will for listening to me whine and then reminding me that perhaps one day I may be as great a scholar as he is. His words have kept me going.

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iv TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iii LIST OF FIGURES.............................................................................................................v ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... vi CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION........................................................................................................1 2 FEMININE SPACE......................................................................................................8 3 MEDEA......................................................................................................................19 4 HIPPOLYTUS............................................................................................................31 5 HECUBA....................................................................................................................41 6 ELECTRA..................................................................................................................51 7 CONCLUSION...........................................................................................................61 LIST OF REFERENCES...................................................................................................65 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.............................................................................................72

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v LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 1 Divisions of Space in Classical Homes. Female spaces marked +; male spaces shaded. Entrances to houses from the street marked with arrows..............................9 2 Plan and Reconstruction of an Oval House, Smyrna. 10th century BC....................10 3 The Phases of Zagora; House Walls in Black; Left: First Phase Right: Second Phase.........................................................................................................................1 1 4 Water-jar (ca. 520 B.C.) from Athens, depicting women at a fountain house.........16 5 The progression of Medea’s myth. Y oung (Hillsdale College Lecture, 1992).......30

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vi Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts WOMEN OUTSIDE THE PALACE: EURIPIDEAN WOMEN AND THEIR SPACE By Jeannie Thanh Nguyen May 2006 Chair: Karelisa Hartigan Major Department: Classics The characters of Euripides’ dramas ar e the threads that create his intricate narrative, and when woven together through situations crossing space and time, they produce a masterful account of tragic and ofte n less than tragic figures. Euripides’ characters defy the ordinary ideals of tragedy. Euripides’ women, though mythical characters, often operate outside of the conventions of proper womanly behavior. My purpose in this thesis is to investig ate Euripides’ female characters in the Medea, Hippolytus, Hecuba and Electra the spaces associated with each principal character, and, more specifical ly, the behavior the women di splay within and outside of their female spaces. In the fi rst part of my work I intr oduce the spaces Athenian women inhabited and describe the typical roles expect ed within these areas. The purpose of this is to establish a standard of behavior with which to compare the actions of the predominant female figures in Euripides’ traged ies. For instance, Electra states that her place is in the house and her task is to keep it tidy.

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vii The movement from typical feminine sp aces within to areas without, however, exhibits a change from normative behavior. Therefore, the second a nd larger part of my work is devoted to providing an analysis of the behaviors the women exhibit in these four tragedies in order to explain the implica tions of these actions, namely how these behaviors are associated with their feminine space and how Euripides uses the women’s space to heighten his narrative. For example, in the Hippolytus Phaedra constantly wavers in her desires to be inside and outside the house. Through this analysis I hope to demonstrate that the underlying continuity interlaced within the definition of feminine space is a woman’s association with a male fi gure. Without the rightful male figure, a woman’s space is either distorted or is alto gether lost. Domestic space is a realm of masculine control where women are cared a nd provided for. Interior spaces are associated with female passivity and proper behavior. However, when these women step outside of the palace, they no longer act acco rding to traditional st andards of behavior, but enter the public world of men where they are not welcome. These women, in turn, act as men, and therefore achieve their goals In the end, though, Euripides’ tragedies demonstrate that it is those wo men who are restored to male figures that continue to live on. The Athenian female cannot exist without a male.

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1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Euripides: Then I taught these people (characters) to speak – to think, to see, to understand, to love to twist, to scheme, to suspect wicked things, to contrive cunningly all things – Aristophanes, Frogs 954, 957-958 Euripides was an unconventional tragedia n who did not reinforce or validate the prevailing principles of the Athenian polis as did Sophocles or Aeschylus, but rather represented current social ideologies as false, gross, and mistaken. One way in which his tragedies reflect this very concept is thr ough his dramatic creation of a world where the women are the intricate and developed characte rs while the males are often degraded to gender stereotypes. By placing the female at th e core of the dramatic action of his plays, “he feminized tragedy, the most masculine institution of the Athenian democratic patriarchy, and symbolically ca strated the manly, ‘lofty,’ he roic legacy of Aeschylus.”1 Countering male against female, depraved morality against virtue, passion against reason, Euripides’ tragedies extend be yond simply speaking “honorable things”2 and in his departure from the standard, reveal the fa ults and weaknesses of Athenian values. In 1 Zelenak (1998) 101. 2 Aristophanes Frogs 1055.

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2 his portrayal in Aristophanes’ Frogs, the charact er of Euripides asserts that a poet should be admired for “superlative artistry, craftsmanship, and the skill of a talented teacher to make men better by counsel sage” (1009).3 Euripides meant for his tragedies to educate the public, but his contemporaries criticized him, claiming that he failed in this respect and turned sound, well-born citizens into men.4 They argue that Euripides did so by giving equal importance in narrative to both servants and masters, often employing the lesser characters as the voice of reason and source for proper behavior. They especially condemn him for hi s selection of subject matter, stating that it was improper to write about less than vi rtuous women or “whores like Phaedra or Sthenoboea.”5 It is through his divergence from th e tragic norm that his plays become so valuable to study. The most striking variance in his tragedies in comparison with other tragedians lies in his depiction of women. Aristophanes claimed that Euripides was a misogynist, slandering women and characte rizing them as deceitful, vengeful, and contriving. Euripides, however, displays tremendous sympathy for women and the female perspective, devoting entire plays to the fate of women in war-torn, conquered cities and often creating speeches lamen ting the throes of women.6 He also presents many courageous, virtuous, and selfless women, such as Alcestis, Helen, and Iphigenia who 3 Trans. by Webb (1962) 400. Euripides even claims that his plays achieved this at lines 954, 957-958. 4 Arist. Frogs 1011. 5 Arist. Frogs 948-950, 1043. We can conjecture that the Phaedra refers to the first presentation of the Hippolytus (Kaluptomenos) 6 Examples include the Hecuba, Electra, The Trojan Women etc.

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3 display the traits of an ideal woman. In a ddition to this, throughout his works Euripides expresses an accurate awareness and firm grasp of the female psychology,7 and almost always casts the “thinkers” of his plays as women.8 The difference in his portrayal of women, however, appears in their divergent behavior from the typical standards of feminine conduct. The question then remains as to why Euripides chooses to represent his women with such unflatteri ng myths if he is not the accu sed misogynist. On closer examination one sees that these women who a ppear to display objectionable actions are, in fact, not portrayed by Euripides as “wicke d women.” By analyzing the way in which his stories depart from the traditional myth, one can gather his visi on and attitudes toward the female9 and, more specifically, one may observe that Euripides does not portray his women as debased at all, but rather as human beings, subject to the experiences, whims, and emotions of the entire race.10 They are presented without blame or condemnation, but demonstrate what it is to be human when the passion overcomes the rational and when, after the suffering and calamity, the only expression of humanity left is the exchange of comfort and understanding. Euripides does not condone their reprobate behavior or commend his audi ence to model them; instead, he presents mythological characters as people recognizable to that audience. Another question arises when discussing Eu ripides and his use of women, namely, why it is even important to study the female ch aracters. Greek tragedy uniquely gives its 7 See March (1990) 32-33, 64n4, and 64n7 for specific examples. 8 Dodds (1973) 80. 9 This is the approach of March (199 0) 32-75. This argument will be an alyzed in further detail within the body of the thesis. 10 In describing Euripides tragedies, Kitto (1978) 195 stat es it most accurately by saying: ‘In the last analysis Euripides’ tragic hero is mankind.’

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4 female characters what women we re denied in real life—equal status with men. Zelenak claims that the theatre, like the political arena, was an enti rely male experience and that there is no solid evidence to support the inclusion of women in theatre audiences.11 I am not entirely sure I agree with this statement. As I mention in the subsequent chapter, the evidence we have about females is found in the literature written by men whose perceptions and views may not be wholly refl ective of reality. In the same way that scholars cannot assume too much based on the wr itten record, they cannot, in the reverse mistake, assume too little, as I believe that Zelenak does here. However, at this time, women were often separated from the compa ny of men and denied an education as well as means to express their opinions. They were not allowed to hold office, vote, own property, or even give testimony in court.12 The segregation in the Greek notions of gender ideology was not only reinforced externally in everyday life, but also subtly in their words and speech. There was no basic word for “woman” that corresponded to “man” in Classical Attic Greek. Alternatively, “wife,” served this function. Ancient Greeks could not supply precise terminology for words such as “unm arried” or “single woman” the way they distinguished between different kinds of prostitutes (i.e. ). Rather, women were defined according to sociological and political terminology, identifying women as or All of 11 Zelenak (1998) 18. Refer to Pickard-Cambridge (1968) 264-265 for evidence for and against women’s presence in the theatre. 12 Zelenak (1998) 21. If a female’s testimony was re quired, her male guardian would speak in her place. Schaps (1977) 323 says that women were not permitted to plead in court. However, there were a variety of reasons that they could be connected with a trial that required their presence, including rights of law succession or the arousal of sympathy from the jury (see Aeschines 2.148, 152; Plato Apology 34c-35b; Demosthenes 19.310, 21.99 and 186, 25.85, 54.35; Arist. Wasps 568-569, Plutus 380).

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5 these terms labeled women with their roles in association with males, which reflect the classical Greek conception of sexuality—the female is in opposition to the male.13 Females functioned the same way in Gr eek tragedy and particularly with Euripides’ characters. His women fulfilled their role as the opposing other to the male character “[playing] the role of catalysts, agents, instru ments, blockers, spoilers, destroyers, and sometimes helpers or saviors for the male characters. When elaborately represented, they may serve as antimodels as well as hidden models for the masculine self…”14 In Euripides’ tragedies we see th at his women exist through some male connection. However, the contrasting factor of Euripides’ women to the Athenian female was that he gave his women a voice. Whethe r their behavior was contemptible or they acted as respectable figures, Euripides presen ted the lives of his characters through their own lenses and allowed his audience a chance to view these women as representative of their own. His women were perhaps not comple te representations of reality, but an image of how people and especially women coul d behave when placed within certain circumstances. Why study Euripidean women? Because it tells us just as much about the Classical Athenian female as it does about Euripides himself. Finally, one must ask why it is important to study spaces and, more specifically, the perceived boundaries of feminine space. In approaching this topic, one discovers that there is not much contemporary scholarshi p about female space because not much is known about it. Archaeological evidence identi fies areas within th e home indicative of female space. However, the ancient liter ature does not provide completely accurate 13 Zelenak (1998) 17-21. 14 Zeitlin (1990) 68-69.

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6 information to interpret these remains; the in terior space of women was a mystery to men because they were not a part of it.15 Their perspective, though, is the surviving record we have of the past. Therefore, by analyzing the ancient viewpoints (whether completely reflective of reality or not), we have the be st source for gaining insight on the lives and spaces of Athenian women. Euripides is one of the surviving voices of the ancients, and, therefore, his view on feminine space can add to our knowledge of women and their space. The main reason to study feminine space lies in the fact that the ancient Athenian female was identified and connected with her pl ace within the home. If one is to study females, it naturally follows that he/she must analyze their spaces as well, because much of their life was centered around and within the oikos Zeitlin notes th e relational aspect between boundaries of inside and out for women saying, The house, as we know, is primarily the proper domain of the woman, to which the social rules of the culture assign her, while its men go forth into the outside world to pursue manly accomplishments in war and politics.16 Athenian males appear to relegate females to the home and claim that this is the ideal place for women. However, one must ask why this is so. They claim that the home is the woman’s workplace, place of safety, and place of respect.17 However, it may not be because men believe that the home is best suited for females, but rather because the 15 Zeitlin (1990) 355, 357. The inside space of women is often presented as a place of plots against men. Montiglio (2000) 256 reinforces this very idea stating, “Within a society, that of democratic Athens, in which silent seclusion is the condition imposed on wome n in real life, it is not surprising that women are the experts at conniving silences also on the stag e. By representing wome n who act through secret networks, the tragedians point to the dangers that supposedly lurk behind women’s confinement and exclusion from the spheres of public speech.” Rf. Athenaios 13.6ff. fo r anti-feminine views. 16 Zeitlin (1996) 349, 354. 17 I will offer further analysis on ancient feminine space in the following chapter.

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7 public outside will not accept them. This is ex actly what we see in analyzing Euripides’ plays. The moment his women “s tep outside the palace” they act in ways contrary to the expected behaviors of females. Only when these women assume male behaviors can they accomplish anything in the public realm of men. In analyzing Euripides’ use of space, one must first determine how he defines feminine space, and then identify how his wo men behave within (and without) this space. In doing so, one may gain some understanding of Euripides’ perspective on women and quite possibly learn more about the Athe nian woman from the realist himself.

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8 CHAPTER 2 FEMININE SPACE “Your renown will be great if you do not behave in an inferior way to that natural of your sex, and your glory will be to be least me ntioned amongst men concerning either your virtue or your faults.” Thucydides II.45.2 The roles and space of women in ancient Greece are difficult to determine when one realizes that he/she is studying a group that was extolle d for being little mentioned. Modern day scholars, in an attempt to piece together what knowledge they can gather from this “silent” group, mainly possess litera ry evidence that was written almost entirely by the opposing gender. The problem is situated in determining how much of reality is reflected in the ideology of how women shoul d live and act accordi ng to the perceptions and views of the dominant and lasting voices of men. Archaeological finds provide us with clea r and unbiased evidence in determining the role of women and their place within the home.1 The oikos served as the basis of the framework of ancient Greek society.2 In this complex hierarchy of relationships stood the male head and underneath him the nuclear family, followed by the entire economic unit—slaves, property, and land. It was this do mestic space to which females of classical Athens were often confined. Ancient authors state that particular areas within the home, 1 The interpretations of these findings may be biased—as are all interpretations—but the importance of these remains is that it provides us with artif acts from the past available for any analysis. 2 For the varying definitions of the oikos and its place in Athenian Law, see MacDowell (1989) 10-21. Here and throughout, I refer to the oikos as the family as well as the house, itself.

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9 known as the gynaikon or gynaikonitis were the women’s quarters3 set aside for domestic functions such as weav ing, cooking, and storage.4 Examination of homes excavated in Athens identifies areas such as these used as ‘workrooms’ that contained hearths and loom-weights. Greek literature identifies and associates these types of spaces with women (Hesiod, Works and Days 520ff; Homer, Iliad 22, 440; Aeschylus, Agamemnon 95). Not only do these surviving remains indicate rooms employed for female duties, these domestic spaces also demonstrate a separation between areas for men and women. The andron was set apart from the women’s quarters with no access between and each apartment had its own entrance. This archaeol ogical evidence seems to demonstrate that the separation of male and female space wa s proper and practiced in ancient Athens.5 Left: House on the North Slope of the Areopagus Right: Dema House at Ano Liossia Figure 1: Divisions of Space in Classical Home s. Female spaces marked +; male spaces shaded. Entrances to houses from the street marked with arrows. 3 References include Demosthenes 37.45-46, Xenophon’s Oeconomicus 9.5, and Lysias 1.9-10, in which one of the major points in Euphiletos’ argument ( ) is the location of the women’s quarters. 4 Morris (1999) 306. 5 For more on the archaeological evidence of the divi sion of space between males and females within the home, see Walker (1983) 81-91. Figures taken from Walker (1983) 87.

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10 Nevett’s work on this subject however, claims that ther e was no strict division of spaces, but rather varying degrees of male area s. Namely, she claims that any public area was associated with male space while all other spaces (that excluded outsiders) were appropriate for women, into which some men were permitted to enter.6 This view provides a separation between public and priv ate spheres and places women within the remote areas beyond the reach and eyes of most men. This interpretation also reinforces the belief that the female space is hidden, s ecret, and interior and only approachable via male space and male control—the kyrios who guards the door. If one were to cross over the threshold of female space without permi ssion, he/she would be committing an act of hybris7 or perhaps even moicheia as they would be accused of entering with the intention to seduce the women of the house. Morris’ article traces the evol ution of the Greek home and its transitions from early Archaic to Classical structures. Before 750 B.C. domestic spaces were single rooms of oval or apsidal shape. Figure 2: Plan and Reconstruction of an Oval House, Smyrna. 10th century BC.8 6 Nevett 1994, 1995, 1999. 7 Demosthenes 18.132 and Lysias I.4, 25, 36 are very clear in expressing this point of view. 8 Figure taken from Pedley (2002) 111.

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11 However, the late eighthcentury brought about a shif t in shape to rectilinear houses. These structures were still single-roomed or contai ned one main area and a small porch, but by 700 B.C. houses with courty ards began to appear. Courtyard homes became standard in classical Greece by 600 B.C. In analyzing this shift in structures, Morris does not divide the home into gendere d spaces, but suggests that the ideas about divisions of space between the sexes and th e physical divisions of homes reflect the literature of Hesiod and the classical authors a nd their view of the se clusion of women to interior spaces. 9 Whatever the interpretations of th e archaeological remnants, there was clearly a division of male and female space w ithin the home and certain areas that women possessed. Figure 3: The Phases of Zagora; House Walls in Black; Left: First Phase Right: Second Phase.10 Although ancient literature ma y provide a partial and id ealized perception of the woman’s place within the home, it supplies us with the views, expectations, and mindset 9 Hesiod and many classical authors connect space with gender and inner areas with females (e.g. Hesiod, Op. 519-525). For his specific argument, see Morris (1999) 305-317. 10 Figures taken from Morris (1999) 317.

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12 that the Athenians held whether or not it was co mpletely true to reality. We see that the architectural remains display spatial divi sions within the home, but why did these demarcations of space come about? And why was it that the woman’s place was relegated to the home? In Xenophon’s Oeconomicus Ischomachos teaches his young wife her responsibilities saying, 7.35 ‘Your duty will be to remain indoors and send out those servants whose work is outside, and superintend those who are to work indoors and to receive the incomings, 7.36 and distribute so much of them as must be spent, and watch over so much as is to be kept in store, and take care that the sum laid by for a year be not spent in a month. And when wool is brought to you, you must see that cloaks are made for those that want them. You must see too that the dry corn is in good condition for making food.’11 The pseudo-Aristotelian Oikonomikos echoes similar sentiments about the woman’s expected place stating, “the gods ha ve made one gender (the women) fit only for a ‘seated’ way of life but too weak for ac tivities out of doors, wh ile the other gender (the men) were less suited for domestic wo rk but strong enough for labour that required motion” ( Oik 1.1344a 3-6).12 Socrates in a conversati on with his friend, Aristarchos, promotes the labor and domestic skills of Aristarchos’ female relations to start a home industry in order to sustain hi s and their live lihood (Xenophon’s Memoribilia II.7.2-14).13 Much of the ancient literature attributes the demarcation of space to the division of labor between the sexes.14 The Greeks recognized a difference in roles for each gender and 11 Trans. by Marchant (1923), my italics. See also sections 10.10-13 for additional tasks the wife was expected to undertake. 12 Translation by Scheidel (1995) 205. See also Arist. Pol 1254b 13ff. 13 For the autonomy and self-contained nature of the woman’s sphere see Shaw (1975) 256; Powell (1988) 341-350, 359; Just (1989) 114-118, 151-152, 164; Cohen (1991) 159-162; Pomeroy (1994) 58-61; Cox (1998) 130-131. 14 For example, Hierocles, in Stob. Flor 3.696f. (ed. Hense).

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13 associated the space that each possessed with the duties each performed in these areas.15 The women, therefore, were often situated with in the private sphere of the interior, while men possessed the public sphere. Not only were women seemingly restricted to the home because of their domestic duties, but also because it served as a mean s of protection. With Pericles’ Citizen Laws of 451-450, Athenian citizen stat us and the legitimacy of heirs were often called into question. One of the greatest roles a woman held was to produce offspring.16 Apollodorus, in his speech agains t Neaera, reinforces this view by claiming that a wife’s job was “for the procreation of legitimate ch ildren and to be faithful guardians of the household” (Dem. 59.122).17 The entire prosecution of Neaera was intended to slander Stephanus by challenging the citizenship of his children, whether they belong to Stephanus’ former wife, an Atheni an citizen, or Neaera, the metic.18 Adultery also disputed the paternity of offspring. Therefore, women were confined to the oikos to ensure they did not violate their marriage vows or that they, themselves, were not violated.19 This need for supervision kept wo men under the guardian ship and protection of their male figure. In Aristarchus’ conve rsation with Socrates, Aristarchus gave an analogy in which he, as the male guardian, se rved as the “watchdog” who protected the 15 (Arist. Pol 1277b 24ff). 16 Solon’s laws (20.2) enforce this very idea. 17 Trans. by Pomeroy (1994) 115. 18 For more on the trial of Neaera, see Kapparis (1999). 19 Cohen (1989) 3-15 argues that th ere was a separation of space between males and females, but that this division did not necessarily translate to seclusion or isolation. His article focuses on the conflict in scholarship between reality and ideology. See also Ri chter (1971) 1-8. For the purposes of this paper, however, I mainly analyze the perceptions of the ancients and their association of females mainly to the home.

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14 “sheep” (the women) so that they could liv e and work in safety and so that no harm would come to them (Xen. Mem 2.7.14). In Lysias I On the Murder of Eratosthenes the defendant, Euphiletos, remarks that he watche d over his wife as much as possible and kept an eye on her as was reasonable, but it was when his wife attended his mother’s funeral (in the view of the pub lic) that she was seduced by Er atosthenes (Lysias I.6-8). Funerals, sacrifices (Aristophanes, Ach 253), and religious festivals (e.g. the Thesmophoria, Isaeus 8.19-20; 3.80; 6.49) we re occasions in which women stepped outside of the home.20 These excursions out of door s, as Euphiletos’ argument exemplifies, made women susceptible to seduc tion and ruin. The best solution, therefore, would be to limit females to the inner spaces of the oikos Women were also expected to stay with in the home because it was those women who had a sense of propriety who remained isolated from public view. In Plato’s Laws the Athenian claims that women were accust omed to living a private life and would do anything rather than be exposed to public view (781c). The speaker of Lysias 3.6 declares that his female relatives were so proper and concerned for their modesty that they were even embarrassed to be seen by th eir male relations. Respectable women were those who stayed at home and carried out their domestic duties.21 As Pericles stated, the woman’s greatest glory was to be silent and subdued (Thuc. II.45.2).22 The seclusion and anonymity of women was also practiced in th e law courts. Orators purposefully avoided naming living respectable women in order to keep from casting a slur on their names. 20 For a more inclusive list of activities which took women outside of the home, see Cohen (1989) 8. 21 For further examples see Demosthenes 47, Isaeus 3.13-14, Lysias 1.22-23. 22 The poet Hipponax of Ephesos even said that a woman’s two best days were when someone married her and when he carried out her dead body (Hipponax 68).

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15 Instead, these women would be identified th rough their male relations using kinship terms. Schaps notes that the orator Mantithe us uses “six men and one deme to identify a single woman”, all without naming the woman herself (Dem. 40.6).23 Only those women who were disreputable, of the opposing council, or dead would be named. Otherwise, naming a female would be considered a slander upon an honorable and proper woman.24 Examples such as these illustrate that a woman’s place and propriety lay in her associations with her male figures and in being little seen and heard. Although much of ancient literature expr esses these ideals for the place a woman was expected to occupy, the reality was that women were never completely secluded in the home. The wealthy were the only ones who could possibly maintain such standards.25 In the Politics Aristotle claims that in a democratic system, it is impossible to restrict a poor woman from going out to work (1300a, 1323a).26 Not only did women exit their homes for economic activities,27 but they also performed menial labors out of doors, such as washing clothes and fetching water, in addition to visiti ng their friends and neighbors.28 Even though these expectations of is olation for women were not completely 23 Schaps (1977) 326. 24 There were, of course, some exceptions to this. Fo r the complete analysis of the naming of women, see Schaps (1977) 323-330. 25 Sheidel (1995) 204. 26 Cohen (1989) 8. 27 Women would work in the fields (Aristophanes, Peace 535; Demosthenes 57.45) or even sell items in the marketplace (Aristophanes, Ach. 478, Wasps 497, 1380-1385; Lys 445; Thes 405-440; Demosthenes 57.30-31, 34) 28 Many black-figure vases depict women at a public fountain house, one place in which they could meet one another and converse. Fantham et al. (1994) 106-109.

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16 observed in real life, neverthe less, these ideals were part of every Athenian male’s perception. Figure 4: Water-jar (ca. 520 B.C.) from At hens, depicting women at a fountain house.29 29 Figure taken from Fantham et al. (1994) 108.

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17 In the context of Euripides’ plays, these pr inciples were inherent in the audience’s mentality. The moment Euri pides’ women stepped outsi de of their homes, it was indicative that somethi ng was wrong within the oikos .30 Euripides recognized the prevailing perceptions of space and women’ s roles within these spaces and he undoubtedly played with the audience’s concep tions in his retelling of the mythical stories. There was a reason why Alcestis wa s considered the epitome of the perfect woman. We see in her actions that she was willing to sacrif ice her life for that of her husband’s, claiming that she did not wish to live a life wit hout Admetus or to leave her children fatherless (287ff.) because she knew that her very existence was dependent on some male figure.31 Euripides’ noble characterization of Alcestis is not only seen in her behaviors but is also expressed in her spaci ng. Even in this, she upholds the ideals of a perfect wife. The prologue places her (19), nearly at the point of death. However, when she does exit the pal ace, she is accompanied by her husband ( 233-234). She is then afforded one of the most unique tragic deaths where, unlike any othe r woman, she actually dies on stage.32 Later on when Herakles returns Alcestis to Admetus, she is veiled and silent, and therefore out of public view and sound. Slater interprets Alcestis’ reunion with Admetus and re-submersion into silence as “t he glory of the Athenian wife”,33 which resonates her status as the epitome of the best wife. 30 Padel (1983) 15. 31 If Admetus were to die, Alcestis, as an heiress, would have been expected to remarry. See the Gortyn Law Code (col. III.17-30, VI.15-VIII.50) and Plutarch Solon 20.2-23.2. Slater (2000) 107 says that Alcestis dies for Admetus, her children, AND the household, because these are inseparable. 32 For the ways in which to kill a woman in Greek tragedy, see Loraux (1987) 9-39. 33 Slater (2000) 115.

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18 Euripides takes the audience’s perceptions of feminine space and represents his female characters within th ese lines of thought. The fo llowing chapters provide an analysis of some of Euripides’ most striki ng female characters and the interplay between their space and their behavior. Euripides takes these mythic women and does the most despicable thing—he brings them outside of th e palace. In the narratives of these women we see their struggle in deciding between livi ng out their circumstances in the expected passivity of the female or taking action agains t their misfortunes. Euripides uses their spatial connections, roles, and male figures to influence their behaviors. In examining Euripides’ plays with the Athenian ideals of female seclusion in mind, one will discover a deeper meaning to his plays and gain a greater understa nding of them.

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19 CHAPTER 3 MEDEA From the very start of the play we see that Medea does not fa ll into the category of the typical female. The prologue introduces us to her as the woman who fell in love with Jason and carried out great and terrible deeds for him on account of that passion (810). Immediately we, along with the ancien t audience, recall the myths of Medea and how she aided Jason in obtaining the golden fl eece and sailed away with him to Iolcus. Perhaps we would also remember the version where she killed her brother, Apsyrtus, and scattered his remains in the Black Sea and how she deceived Pelias’ daughters to kill their own father. Even if we did not, Eu ripides reminds us of these very tales.1 Undoubtedly, the audience knew Medea’s storie s before Euripides even presented his version for the stage, and we can be certain th at they had her myths in mind as they were watching this play.2 But what is it about Medea that makes her such an extraordinary female? One could say that she was the sorceress who fell in love with a would-be hero and betrayed her father and homeland for him, but it extends even further than this In choosing Jason Medea rejected her father’s authority a nd male presence and abandoned her home in Colchis. Even before we encounter her on Euri pides’ stage Medea has already, in 1 Euripides rouses our memory of these myths in the prologue by the very mention of Pelias’ name (3) and by recounting his murder by his daughters’ hands ( 9). He also speaks Medea’s past actions through her own voice when she laments the fact that she killed her own brother for Jason (167) and repeats the story of Pelias’ death at lines 486-487 and 503-505. 2 For the complete lineage of Medea’s mythological story see Figure 6 at end of chapter.

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20 essence, “stepped outside the palace” and be gun to act on her own behalf. The first evidence of this adoption of male roles is re called in the marriage oath she made with Jason, which she refers to at lines 161 ( and 495 ( Although Euripides never explicitly mentions the substance of the agreement they made with one another, we can confer from this pact that it was some exchange of fa vors—namely, her assistance in acquiring the golden fleece for his hand in marriage.3 A Greek betrothal was never accomplished between man and woman, but rath er father-in-law and groom.4 Here, however, we see that Medea is the one who binds herself to Jason and acts in her father’s stead in completing the marriage. What is more, her oa th compels her to carry out Jason’s actions as well. She, as she so eagerly remi nds him (475ff. and 515), saved his life ( ), killing the dragon that guarded the Golden Fl eece and providing him a means for escape. Once again she assumes a male role in acting as Jason’s “savior.” Her manly behaviors do not stop there, however. Once in Iolcus she serves as the conqueror of Jason’s enemies, beguiling the daughters of Pelias to cu t up their father in th e hopes of returning him to his youth. In every instance above it appears (and Med ea also claims) that she acts on Jason’s behalf, but the truth of the matter is that sh e also acts on her behalf All of her actions reflect the absence of a male figure and a sear ch for a space or home in which to exist as a traditional female. Because sh e rejected her father, she in turn makes a marriage oath to replace her lost male figure with Jason. He r destruction of Pelias was to furnish Jason 3 For more information on the significan ce of the hand-clasp see Flory (1978) 70. 4 This marriage, therefore, is not legally valid. Fo r more on Greek betrothals see Harrison (1968) 1-59.

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21 with a kingdom in Iolchus (and, in essence, a home for herself). This action only resulted in their banishment/flight from the land a nd, consequently, resulted in their current residency in Corinth. At the st art of Euripides’ play, it is here in Corinth that we find Medea, once again without a male figure. We are told that her husband, Jason, has deserted her and the children and has broken their marriage vows by taking another wife. We hear that she sits inside the house suffering (24, 135, 180) as the classic female passive victim starving hers elf in her misery. This seclusion, however, does not last l ong and Medea emerges on stage lamenting the lot of a woman’s life in a dramatic first entrance. “We have waited in suspense, learned of Medea’s passive suffering at s econd hand and from her own cries of anguish; and now, it seems, that helpless passivity e nds and the resulting action… is set afoot.”5 At her first entrance out of doors, we immediately see in Medea’s speech that she does not hold the values of the traditional Greek woma n. Her point of view is slightly skewed. She claims that she comes outside to the women of Corinth so that they do not think ill of her because she believes that those who live qu ietly get a bad reputation (214ff.). This is absolutely contradictory to the view of a good Greek woman who remains indoors confined to her woman’s quarters doing her fema le tasks, and instead runs more so along the lines of the male way of thinking.6 In other words, for a male there is no glory in sustaining a quiet life indoors. She even reinforces this view by complaining how unfortunate women are because they must rema in at home while a man is free to go out of doors (245). Instead she is at home bemoani ng the fact that she is deserted without a 5 Reckford (1968) 333. 6 “It is more shameful for the man [of a married couple] to stay indoors than to busy himself with outdoor affairs.” Xenophon Oeconomicus 8.

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22 country, a family, friends, or a husband. Sh e has nothing left except her home and her children. At this point in the play Creon enters to announce that he is depriving her of her home as well. This banishment devastates he r existence, for Medea is yet again without a male figure and a space, but this time not by choice. Not only is she a wife abandoned, but now she is also an exile which she mentions over and over again throughout the play thereafter.7 Previous to Creon’s entrance Medea was distraught and suffering in misery, but she was inactive within the house. It is not until she loses both her male figure and her space that Medea decide s to take action against her enemies—Jason, Glauke,8 and Creon. She supplicates Creon to allow her to remain one last day in Corinth in order to prepare for her exile. Her speech is entirely calculated, first attempting to assuage his fears and convince him that she is not as cl ever and vindictive as some would have him believe. When that does not allay his fears, she supplicates him; submits to the exile; and then begs him for time, playing on his role as a father to invoke his pity. Creon—out of compassion, against his better judgment, and in his naivety of Mede a’s capability to act—grants her one final day, a conc ession which results in his undoing. As the tragedy progresses we discover th at this is not simply a play about transformation or a reversal of roles. Alt hough Medea does seem to just sit passively one 7 Medea mentions that she is an exile twenty times at the following lines: 275, 338, 341, 346, 353, 372, 400, 436, 449, 454, 458, 459, 511, 603, 606, 706, 713, 881, 938, and 1023. Before Creon orders her to leave the land she only refers to he rself as “desolate” or “helpless” ( 255). It is interesting to note that Kovacs (1994) translates th is adjective as “without relatives”, which indicates the dependence a woman has on her family or male protection. 8 Note that not once is Glauke mentioned by name. As is common for Greek women, she is referred to by her roles in relation to a man, i.e. (19), (164), etc. (262, 283, 288, 309, 366, 375, 554, 556, 623, 694, 783, 785, 788, 885, 888, 942 945, 952-953, 957, 962, 967, 970, 978, 994, 1001, 1003, 1064-1066, 1125, 1137, 1144, 1179, 1207, 1210, 1220, 1233, 1348, and 1394.) See Schaps (1977) 323-330.

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23 day and then the next decide to avenge hers elf against her enemies (and in so doing act as a man), her actions are more a continua tion of past behavior. The play is a fortiori a comparison of Medea’s “masculinity” or a ssumption of male roles set up against a backdrop of men who parade before her thr oughout the play. The initial parts of the tragedy and Medea’s myths demonstrate that sh e associates herself with and is dependent upon a male figure, but more than this, she becomes her own male figure. The moment she rejects her father and binds herself to Jason, Medea acts the part of a hero and, perhaps, deserves the title just as much as Jason. She helped hi m achieve his glory and renown—the very reason that Creon believed Ja son to be a good match for his daughter. Even in her destruction of Pelias, Me dea was providing Jason with a home. Medea’s prevailing role in their relationship is evident in her fi rst conversation with Jason in which she dominates the speech with her abusive language and reasoning.9 Medea is very much the male figure and the hero and as such she relishes this role. Her words display this mindset. She does not criti cize Jason for his lust or adultery, but for his cowardice ( 466). Then she goes on to remind him of the fact that she was the one who rescued him. Not only that, she claims that the Greeks themselves know of her deeds (476), and so she is the one who achieves the renown. She describes her acts in full detail, but then states that Jason’s onl y deed was to desert her and his children in order to bed another woman. She emasculates him even further my claiming that he is the one who held her hand in supplication, clasping her knees for favor (496-497). Her heroic mindset is also evident in the fact that much of he r motivation to carry out her revenge was so that she would not be the object of her enemies’ laughter. 9 For views on Medea’s commanding speech see McClure (1999) 373-376. She identifies Medea’s language as legalistic and also a “transgression of normative gender roles.”

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24 McClure labels this as a “potential source of shame and fear… Like a hero she wishes to appear formidable and invincible rather th an vulnerable in the face of her opponents.” 10 Medea says that she would not have anyone think her 11 (808). In addition to this, her behavi ors reflect the heroic code when she states that she would rather be seen as one who does damage to her enemies, helps her friends, and achieves great fame (809-810).12 Medea is the hero, but she is also a woman. Therefore, all of her actions throughout the play are placed in contrast to every male that comes before her. Euripides emphasizes repeatedly Medea’s cleverness a nd the belief that a clever woman is dangerous13 in complete antithesis to Creon w ho is represented as a fool (371).14 Creon is supposed to be the powerful male ruler and Medea the weak female victim, but he is the one who yields to her in compassion wh ile she manipulates him for vengeance. As noted before, when Medea interacts with Ja son, she dominates him in speech and asserts her power through her abusive language and Jason is left giving illogical and unreasonable answers for his behavior. With Aegeus, Medea may seem to act as a dependent for a place of refuge, but she in fact is the one who has th e power to help cure 10 McClure (1999) 381. Medea mentions this fear of ridicule repeatedly at 383, 398, 404-405, 797, 10491050, 1354-1355, and 1362. 11 It is interesting to note that Warner (1955) translat es this as “a stay-at-home”, reinforcing Medea’s earlier speech and view that one who remains at home achieve s no glory, which she believes is comparable to being common and weak. 12 For more on Medea’s heroic traits and Me dea as a hero see Barlow (1989) 161-164. 13 This occurs at lines 285, 293, 295, 303, 320, 407, 539, 545, and 913. 14 Medea even emphasizes his foolishness in saying, “ ” (371). Musurillo (1966) 55 describes the situation thus, “Cre on is completely taken in by Medea’s attractive and specious friendliness; his mistake is to think he can give Medea a day of grace without regretting it.”

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25 Aegeus who is helpless in his need for an o ffspring. She uses her power of persuasive speech once again and with an oath obligates Aegeus to serve as her protector. This democratic political alliance creates an unusua l displacement of the hierarchical structure between man and woman, much less a rule r of Athens, such as Aegeus is. Medea is without a doubt an actor/aggressor/agent and w ould never allow herself to be a victim. Her behaviors consistently reiter ate this view and are displayed before each male figure. In her interaction with Cre on, Medea’s speech emphasizes this very fact, and she also says outright that th e only reason she would “fawn on” ( 368) him was in order to achieve some benefit. After he departs we di scover that her profit will produce the destruction of three. With Jason, Medea’s discourse proves herself the better speaker, but it is not until her second encounter with Jas on that we see the depth of her artfulness. Not only does she convince him that she believed that her previous behavior was foolish, she also uses her own children as the instrume nts of her murderous plot. Her behavior was so convincin g, Jason ends up praising her as a wife (913) and approves of her speech.15 Her oath with Aegeus provides her a pl ace of sanctuary for her exile and even allows her a solution to carry out her ve ngeance. Buttrey provides an excellent breakdown of the play in which he notes the chiastic arrangement of the scenes of the play and claims that Aegeus’ scene is the fulcrum on which the narrative hinges.16 Aegeus’ presence is so important to the na rrative because he provides Medea with a refuge, a “space”, to which to escape. The one thing she lacked was a space, which is 15 For the reversal and convincing nature of Medea’s argument, see McClure (1999) 391. 16 Buttrey (1958) 6 argues that the order of the ap pearance of men creates an increase in passion until Aegeus appears and then creates a change in tone for the play. At this point her vengeance begins.

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26 clearly essential to her existence. She tells the Chorus that her lament about the woes of being a woman does not apply to them b ecause they have a city, a home, etc. ( 253-254). They agree with her when th ey ask what house or land (again a space) will protect her from misfortune ( 359-360). Her method of escape was never uncertain, but her space was.17 Once the issue of a haven is resolved, so are her plans for murder. Through her oath with Aegeus, she has created a space. As Medea proves, she may attempt to become her own male figur e and carry out her vengeance against her enemies, but no matter how much of the he ro Medea may act, she is still a female incapable of achieving her own space and fu lly becoming a male. Her attempts, though, are gruesomely close. When the messenger co mes to report the death of the princess, she desires to hear his savors the details, and considers him a friend (1127-1128). When the messenger’s speech is ov er, she declares her final male task. Noteworthy is the fact that Medea’s lame ntation of being an exile disappears the moment that she hears of the death of Glauke and Creon. I have al ready established that Medea is an agent of her life. She acts; she controls; she decides. Jason may have stripped away her role as wife and Creon may have taken away her home, but none of these situations occurred because she chose them. However, Medea reverses her situation the moment she decides to kill her enemies. Her exile now becomes a deliberate choice (it may be to escape deat h, but it is still a choice). Her final act is the death of her children. One of the most human and feminine elements of Medea is her vacillation in murdering her children. She so desperately acts the part of the male, but she cannot 17 See Musurillo (1966) 58-59.

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27 escape her femininity and womanly roles. Th e fact that she murders her children is not her renunciation of her femininity and ascen sion to a divine status, but rather her complete dissociation from Jason as her male figure. She states repeatedly that her children remind her of Jason and curses them along with their father (112-114). They serve as a source of pain and hate and are li ving reminders of her pa st relationship with Jason.18 In her mind, she must leave her male figure and space by choice, and killing her children is part of this choice. Her final act is a complete separation of all of her ties to Jason. She has made the choice ; she has executed it. Once agai n, she acts the part of the male. Clearly the theme of space is a large elem ent of Medea’s situation. The irony of the tragedy, however, appears in this very co mponent—the absence of space. All of the staging of the Medea occurs in one place: before, within, or on top of Medea’s house. Yet, she is the only one who is without a sp ace and a home. The pl ay is centered around a house that she no longer possesses. Every representative symbol of space has already been stripped away from her and every behavior is in search of some space to call her own. The irony extends even further when we realize that Medea, the woman, is the only one who is successful in “protecting” her chil dren. Every man in the play emphasizes the fact that they act in order to protect, pr ovide for, or produce o ffspring. Creon states outright that the reason he banishes Medea is to safeguard his daughter (283), because he fears that Medea will injure the princess (a long with himself and Jason). Jason claims that he comes to Medea in order to take care of his children in their exile (461ff.) and that the reason he married Glauke was in the in terests of the childre n (550)—to raise them 18 For Medea’s attitude toward her children, see Buttrey (1958) 3.

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28 worthily of his position (562) and to give th em royal familial connections (595ff.). When Jason returns the final time af ter he has discovered the deat h of his wife and Creon, he rushes to Medea’s house to save the lives of his children ( 1303). When he asks the Chorus if Medea intends to kill him as well (1308), he does not realize the truth and accura cy of his words, for Medea has done this very thing in killing their children. Aege us’ presence in the tragedy emphasizes the importance of male offspring to continue the family line, because that is the very reason that he went to Delphi and consequently met Medea. She is the one who is confined to a house, and yet all of her actions and behavior s previous to, during, and following the play are active and not passive, while the men who are free (245) and pass before her are the ones who are sensitive and con cerned for their offspring and are ineffective in protecting them. In the end Medea states that she will k ill her children lest they be slain by a hand less friendly to them (238ff). This is her m eans of protection. Me dea’s escape scene at the end of the play is not an elevation to divine status, but rather a reflection of the paternal provision of her grandfather to gr ant her a means of safety. Helios and Medea are able to do for their offspring what Cre on could not do for Glauke and Jason could not do for his sons. Throughout the play Medea expresses regret at the fact that she betrayed her homeland for Jason.19 She says that her mistake wa s in leaving her father’s home ( 800-801). She is absolutely right. Jason says that he offered Medea a better life, recognition, and a place among people who were civilized (535ff.) but what she truly needed was a man and a 19 These sentiments, expressed by Medea, occur at lines 166-167, 255ff., 328, 483, 502-503, and 800.

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29 home. The moment she lost both of these esse ntial things (not by choice) she, as a hero, takes action in order to avenge herself. Fo r a time with Jason Medea was a woman fit for the home, but with the loss of her male figur e and space, she becomes what she lacks and acts as the agent of her own destiny. Medea “stepped outside of the palace” the moment she left her father for Jason and her assumpti on of male roles thereafter was to regain a place for herself. She is the only one in the play who is able to protect her children, but does so also to give her enemy, Jason, the grea test pain (1398)—a loss of identity that she experienced when he deserted her. Critics ba lk at the fact that Medea, who has carried out such heinous crimes, has escaped unpunished They speculate the reasons for which Euripides chooses to end his play in this manne r. I would suggest that Euripides does not condone her behaviors but makes her escape a re flection of all her pa st behaviors—she is continuing her search for a male figure with whic h to associate herself. She is an actor; she is a hero; but she is also a woman.

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30 Figure 5: The progression of Medea’s myt h. Young (Hillsdale College Lecture, 1992).

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31 CHAPTER 4 HIPPOLYTUS Although Euripides entitles his play, the Hippolytus this work is as much about Phaedra as it is Hippolytus. In his first construction of the Hippolytus (Kaluptomenos) Euripides simply made Phaedra the seductress who served as Aphrodite’s instrument of revenge against Hippolytus. However, Phaed ra’s brazenness and complete impropriety of behavior in contrast to a true Athenian woman were not well-received by the Athenian audience. The changes Euripides makes to Ph aedra, therefore, are extremely significant to how he chooses to char acterize her in the second Hippolytus (Stephanephoros) In his transformation of the myth, he makes Phaedra a virtuous woman who vacillates between maintaining her feminine seclusion and sile nce and stepping out in to public view and hearing. The audience members are observers of her struggle, watching her every move; and though they may pity her situation, they fear that the moment she steps outside of the palace, she will become the seductress of th e previous play. In order to view the outcome, however, the audience must witn ess all her behavior s and without a doubt, Euripides uses the spatial associations to enhance and characterize his second Phaedra. Before Phaedra appears on stage, her actio ns within her spa ce and her behaviors beyond the palace are described by Aphrodite The goddess tells how Phaedra saw Hippolytus at the Eleusinian Mysteries and wa s stricken by a terrible love for him (2428). Aphrodite remarks that Phaedra constr ucted her a temple along the rock of Pallas that overlooks Troezen for her ‘love over the seas’. Aphrodite’s final description of Phaedra places her in Troezen at the home of Pittheus wh ere she now resides on account

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32 of Theseus’ exile from Athens. Every locale that Aphrodite identifies with Phaedra in the prologue places the queen in an ex terior space beyond her palace. The Greek view of women marks them as pa rticularly vulnerable to influences that attack or penetrate.1 When they retire to the interior the danger of persuasive forces lessens. For it was when Phaedra left her home to take part in the mysteries of Demeter that she became possessed by Aphrodite. She left her domestic realm to set up a temple for this goddess, and more specifically, for Hippolytus ( 32).2 Euripides emphasizes that even before Phaedra came to Troezen ( 29), her eyes, and to an even greater extent, her mind, were turned toward Hippolytus and his city ( 30). Her departure from Athens takes her away from her home, places her within the home of Pittheus, and gives her even closer contact to Hippolytus. When Phaedra steps outside of her ty pical interior spaces, whether compelled by Aphrodite, forced into exile with Theseus, or of her own accord, she is associated with Hippolytus. Immediately before Phaedra appears, the C horus informs us that she keeps herself (131-132) covering her gol den hair with a veil.3 Inside she is able to 1 There are four types madness listed in Plato’s Phaedros in which women frequently seem susceptible: the manic, the Corybantic, the poetic, and the erotic. Phaedra’s possession by Aphrodite is a prime example of the erotic madness. See Padel (1983) 3-19 for more on female possession. 2 The manuscripts conflict between whether or not Phaedra loves a “foreign” love ( ) or a “conspicuous” love ( ). Barrett (1964) 98, 160 reads I prefer this reading because Phaedra’s passion for Hippolytus is only evident to Aphrodite and the audience. Also, the exchange between Hippolytus being for Theseus who, to Phaedra’s undoing, becomes increases the irony of the play, for it is the absence of Phaedra’s male figure that brings about her actions. Regardless of the readings, however, the point is still the same—Phaedra constructs a temple for Aphrodite and associates it with Hippolytus. 3 Goff (1990) 5 labels this as a double seclusion that could either be interpreted as the appropriate behavior of a modest woman or equally as a part of her sickness and refusal to speak. She claims that this behavior is an effort to ‘block’ the influences on her.

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33 maintain her chastity and conceal her secret love. However, when Phaedra is brought outside, the audience discovers that she ha s been longing all the while to be outdoors (181). Weak and frail Phaedra seeks the assi stance of her servants to lift her up and let loose her hair—a behavior in stark cont rast to her modesty and veiling indoors.4 Once outside she reveals her desire to roam the ha unts of Artemis. In actuality, her speech deepens her desire for asso ciation with Hippolytus. He r discourse echoes Hippolytus’ hymn to Artemis, recollecting the waters that Aidos uses to tend the “undefiled meadow” (73ff). 5 In longing for Artemis’ domain and th e capacity to hunt Phaedra goes beyond just wishing to be in Hippolyt us’ realm; she also desires to take part in his pursuits and, as his companion, be with him wherever he goes. She goes even further when she calls out to Artemis and wishes to tame horses in her sanctuary. Not only does she long for Hippolytus’ space and companionship, she desires to be Hippolytus himself.6 When Phaedra realizes the madness of her words, she becomes ashamed and covers herself up (243-245). In effect, she attempts to physica lly shield herself from the reckless impulse of a (241). 4 Goff (1990) 5 says that Phaedra frees her body and hair as a precursor to the ‘loosening’ of her speech in her state of delerium. 5Segal (1965) 124 says, “Phaedra’s longing for a drought of ‘pure waters’ (209) and for a ‘grassy meadow’ (210) recall the pure waters of Hippolytus’ aidos (78) and the ‘untouched meadow’ from which he brings his offering (73-74). She longs too for the woodland ( 215) and the hunting of wild beasts, and desires to ‘hurl the Thessalian javelin holding the barbed missile in my hand’ (220-222).” For more on the concept of aidos in the Hippolytus see Cairns (1993) 1-474. 6 Hippolytus’ name is evidently associated with horses. Phaedra’s longing to tame horses echoes Hippolytus’ care of his horses (1241). For the significance of Hippolytus’ name, see Fauth (1959) 428-430, Segal (1965) 147n.48, 166, and Bu rkert (1979) 112-113. Zeitlin (199 6) 225 makes the argument that Hippolytus changes from being “one who binds (111, 1183) and loosens horses” to one who really is true to his name, “one whose body is loosened by horses.” Ph aedra does not realize how accurate her desire to be Hippolytus is, for in the same respect, Phaedra is one whose body and mind is destroyed by the horse-man, Hippolytus.

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34 Throughout the play Phaedra constantly wa vers between her actions within her interior space and that outside, between being eukleia and accomplishing her desires, between death and life. The moment she is outside, the nurse says, she wishes to hurry back inside (182). Her speech takes her to imaginary places out of doors, but when she finishes her wanderings, she covers her head. Her space is crucial to her struggle because it is what defines her roles and esse ntially her identit y. Throughout the Hippolytus Phaedra’s interior space links her to some specific role within it. When she is at the temple, she is a worshipper of Aphrodite. At Athens, she is Theseus’ wife and a mother. When associated with Crete, she defines herself as the daughter of the king.7 In Troezen, however, the lines are blurred. This is because in every space previous, her role was connected to some male figure, or even greater, a divinity. The difference Phaedra faces in Troezen is that her male figure, Theseus, is 8 while her desired male connection, Hippolytus, is too cl ose, yet too far. In the prologue, Phaedra is first mentioned not by her name, but by her title (26)—a connection to both her father and Theseus. Inside the palace at Troezen, her space confines her to her role as mother and wife, but in relati on to Hippolytus, she is also a step-mother and, in her mind, potentially a mistress. When the Chorus conjectures about the reasons for Phaedra’s sickness, they supply a cause in every one of her interior roles: some divine spirit possesses her, bad news is carried from her homeland of Crete, her husband has a secret affair, and lastly, her sufferings come because she is pregnant with child. Every single female duty and association she might hold is called into question. Their answers are 7 Lines 155, 337, 719, and 755. 8 This is emphasized on three separate occasions in the Hippolytus Lines 37, 281, and 659.

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35 correct but do not quite hit the mark. Th e true source of her sickness is a divine possession—Aphrodite’s. She does carry ill-fort une from Crete—her ancestral curse. A secret affair does tear apart her marriage —her incestual desire for Hippolytus. And finally, her duty as a mother grieves her—the expos ure of her secret dooms her children (306). Even though Theseus is absent, when Ph aedra contains herself to the inside, her roles and associations with Theseus remain intact. The moment she steps out of her house, however, she links herself to Hi ppolytus and every role she possesses disappears—she desires to be a huntress and a horse-tamer. No one recognizes this dichotomy of space and male associations better than Phaedra herself. When she comes to her senses after her feverish speech, she veils her head wishing to die. Her veiling, in a sense, hides her from public view and links her to interior spaces. Despite the nurse’s constant questioning, she maintains that her role as a mother is upheld and that she loves her childr en (315), that she is still an honored wife and prays to continuously be so (321), and that her family relations, though hated and a curse to her life, are ever present (337ff). Somewhere amidst the Nurse’s supplication and inquiries Phaedra unveils her head a nd leads the nurse to speak out Hippolytus’ name.9 When her secret is made known to the Nurse and the Chorus of Troezenian women, Phaedra explains how she had tried to k eep silent and had reso lved to die rather 9Though the staging is not explicit as to when Phaedra unveils her head, it is clear that sometime after the veiling of line 245 and before her soliloquy about adulte resses (373—where we can safely assume that she does not make an entire speech with a covering on her head), Phaedra has stripped off her shroud. I believe Phaedra does so at line 335 where she says that sh e will yield compelled by the Nurse’s suppliant hand. Her speech previous to this point pushes the Nurse away in an effort to maintain her silence. After she surrenders to the Nurse’s petitions, however, she no lo nger holds her silent posture, but speaks out freely about her ancestral curse. The Nurse’s supplication is key to the physical unveiling because it sets in motion the spoken “unveiling” of Phaedra’s secret. The Nurse clasps Phaedra’s hands ( 325) and knees ( 326) urging her to give in. Phaedra finally does out of reverence for the Nurse’s begging hand. Uncovering her head would be Phaedra’s gesture in submitting to this concession an d ultimately leads to the revelation of her sickness.

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36 than let her secret be known. She condemn s those women who shame their marriage bed with men other than their husband. The very word that she uses, (409), implies going outside the door and, as Barrett notes, refers to something that does not belong to the .10 Adulteresses are, in essence, those women who step outside of their house to seek consummation of their pleasure. Although Phaedra denounces these females, she does not realize to what extent she follows thes e very women when she steps outside her house and professes her desires for Hippolytus. Phaedra is not the only one who castigates women, the object of hate to all ( 407). When the Nurse reveals Ph aedra’s passion to Hippolytus, he speaks out in a long tirade against women, calling them (616) and (616, 625, and 627), and suggesting there should be other means by which men might produce offspring (619ff). With all of his insults, however, not once in his speech does he place a woman outside of the boundaries of her home. Rabinowitz interpre ts Hippolytus’ speech as more than just madness and disgust towa rd the Nurse’s proposition, but also as an expression of “the cultural beliefs that defi ne the ways in which the female threatens social structures, and therefore define as well the place she is supposed to occupy according to male desire.”11 Although Hippolytus goes to extremes by claiming that bringing a woman into one’s household is a source of ruin (616ff), for him it is inconceivable that a woman should occupy any other space but the in terior. Within a span of less than fifty lines, he limits wome n exclusively to within the home. First he wishes to dwell free from the female sex (623), and then claims that 10 Barret (1964) 235. 11 Rabinowitz (1993) 157.

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37 when a man marries, he takes a creature of ruin (630). He goes even further by saying that a foolish woman who sits is trouble (639) and hopes that there may never be a clever woman (640). Finally, he closes by saying that women should have voiceless beasts as th eir companions for it is the clever women who plot evils while their servants carry them (649). In Hippolytus’ mind, every association and role a woman plays—be it mother, wife, or daughter—is connected to and contained within the household. Hippolytus condemns women in the home but never even conceives that they might come out and cause trouble. Phaedra, however, has not and cannot restra in herself to the interior. Though she constantly wavers in her decisions to remain inside or out, she knows that if she stays within her house, she will continue to suffe r without disgracing her family, but will die without the honor she so desperately desires.12 The very reason she wishes to step outside the palace is to allow her virtue to be known. The moment she does so, however, she is doomed, for women were not praised for being recognized, but for being little mentioned. Her situation is difficult because she desires recognition, but she wants it as a man. When she exits the house, Phaedra sl owly and unconsciously takes steps toward revealing her secret love to Hippolytus. It begins with he r fevered speech and proceeds to a “confession” that is cu rbed by a resolution to die eukleia She eventually succumbs to the Nurse’s suggestions to cure her sickne ss, whose solutions all come from within the house. She tells Phaedra th at she has a love potion (509). She also uses the house, whose ceiling beams are not perfectly cons tructed, to serve as an object lesson to 12 Grene (1955) 189 translates Phaedra’ s speech at line 403 as, “It would always be my choice to have my virtues known and honored.” For more on Phaedra’s vascillation between speech and silence and sexuality and shame see Rabinowitz (1993) 162.

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38 Phaedra to persuade her to act on her passion13 (467-469), and ultimately retreats within the house to reveal Phaedra’s desire to Hippolytus (565ff.).14 But it is there at the doorway of the palace, the liminal space betw een the interior and exterior, probity and passion, that Phaedra makes her decision.15 She comes face to face with Hippolytus without ever interacting with him16 in the neutral threshold of the palace, between complete separation and consummation of her desires.17 After Hippolytus concludes his denunciation of women, he says that he will go while Theseus is (659) in order to prevent furt her interaction with Phaedra. Phaedra, propelled by the mortificati on and shame she felt from Hippolytus’ speech, realizes that her movement into exte rior spaces did not provide the cure she had expected and so decides upon her final act. With the oath of secrecy obtained from the Chorus, she enters the palace once again in an effort to protect her role as mother, daughter, and chaste wife (715ff.). Every act ion previous to this has been to find a solution to her sickness in both interior and exterior spaces. Her suffering within excluded her from eukeleia in the presence of others. Her exit from the palace and virtue in affliction gave her nobility before the Chorus, but also bro ught with it the revelation of 13 I take Goff (1990) 9 and Barrett’s (1964) 224-225 inte rpretation that these lines indicate that a part of the house that is unseen is not so well constructed and th erefore represents an intentional act of concealment. 14 Their conversation spoken by Phaedra and the Chorus as (566), (567), (576), and (579). 15 See Alcock (1995) 1-271 for th e liminal area as a sacred space. 16 Smith (1960) 162-177 argues that Phaedra makes a seri es of entrances and exits and is not present when Hippolytus gives his invective against women. I, howe ver, agree with Av ery (1968) 19-35 that this speech is more compelling while Phaedra is present on stage, heightens her mortification, and spurs her to take action. For a compelling argument for Phaedr a’s presence, see Har tigan (1991) 54n52. 17 This is the one of the key differences between Euripides’ first and second Hippolytus In the first Hippolytus, Phaedra interacts with Hippolytus and acts as an outright seductress. See Reckford (1974) 307-328 for a reconstruction of the first play.

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39 her desires to Hippolytus. Her final act, then, is a reflecti on of her solution both to the interior and exterior. Her suic ide is a return to her interior roles as daughter, mother, and wife. She returns to her bedroom, marriage be d, and the very roof of her house to kill herself in order to maintain her chastity as a wife, not shame her Cretan home, and provide for her children. Goff says that he r suicide is her complete containment to the interior.18 On the other hand, Phaedra’s suicide note is her absolute departure to the exterior. The tablet serves as her entran ce into the public realm of men where she was never permitted19 and functions as a las ting voice to speak her te stimony. The fact that the letter is a lie merely propagates her exterior behavior as “evil”.20 In the absence of a male figure to plead her cause, Phaedra “ste ps outside of the palace” and takes on the male role herself, defending her case before the only jury that has the power to inflict punishment, Theseus. When the Nurse tries desperately to pers uade Phaedra to find a way to cure her sickness, she offers the home as the source of her solutions. Sh e does not realize the extent to which Phaedra hears and follows her advice, but not the way in which she intended. Phaedra does employ her house as th e means of her salvation and destruction, and it in turn is destroyed by her. From lin es 804 to the very end of the play, every instance that the Chorus or Theseus lament s the situation, they mourn about how the house is destroyed and never that Phaedra is dead.21 In the end even after the falsity of 18 Goff (1990) 7. 19 Rabinowitz (1993) 165. 20 For the body as writing, see duBois (1991) 69-74. 21 Phaedra’s death is only mentioned twice, once by th e Nurse at 779 and once by the Chorus at 788. On the other hand, the destruction of the house is expressed ten separate times: 813, 819, 845, 847, 851, 861, 870-871, 901, 1341, and 1344.

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40 Phaedra’s letter and the shamef ulness of her desires are reve aled, she still maintains her connection to the household and he r roles within the interior.

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41 CHAPTER 5 HECUBA Euripides’ Hecuba as with all of his plays, is an intricately woven narrative that possesses a variety of meanings, themes, and morals.1 Many modern day scholars interpret the tragedy as the reshaping of Hec uba’s character and the complete depiction of her suffering,2 the moral evaluation of revenge,3 or the contrast between Polyxena’s virtuous action and Hecuba’s monstrous vengeance.4 The purpose of this chapter, however, is not to present a new interpreta tion, but rather to an alyze how Euripides manipulates the spacing of the play to add to its significance, to mark the divisions between public and private spheres, and to display how Hecuba be haves within these spaces. Undoubtedly one of the main themes within the Hecuba is the emphasis on transformations and transitions. The play is the story of Hecuba’s radical alteration of actions in response to the circumstances she enco unters. As Hartigan states, “the text is not to be seen as a study of character. Greek drama, especially Euripidean drama, is 1 While some authors find fault with the play’s lack of unity and the impression that it is composed of two separate parts, others attempt to identify the unifying element that joins the halves together. Abrahamson (1952) 120n1 gives a great bibliography for affirmative and opposing viewpoints and states that the approach of viewing the play as two parts causes unnecessary difficulty which quickly disappears in light of understanding of the play’s essential meaning. 2 See Abrahamson (1952) 128-129. He claims that the tragedy of Hecuba is about her moral destruction: “It is a story of a human being that is being broken and breaks.” 3 See Meridor (1978) 34-35 who argues that the play is composed of Hecuba’s sorrow and then her consequent permissible and required revenge against Polymestor. 4 See Conacher (1961) 1-26 who says that the play is about Hecuba’s absolute loss of moral identity and the disparity of her behavior in comparison to that of her daughter Polyxena’s.

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42 always a study of individual response to difficult if not unbearable situations.”5 Although the tragedy occurs strictly with in the locus of the Chersonese, we get a full description of Hecuba’s existence past, present, and future Therefore, the complete reversal of Hecuba’s behavior in her space—due to her loss of husband, home, and eventually children—is a reflection of this significant tr ansition from queen to slave to something that is finally less than human. Although we, the audience, never get a true picture of Hecuba’s existence in Troy before her enslavement, Euripides does provi de glimpses of her past and uses these images as a foundation in establishing the woman that once was in order to show her progression to complete beast. We get the fi rst view of Hecuba’s former prosperity and position when we meet Polydorus in the prol ogue where he identifies himself as the son of Hecuba and Priam (3-4) and goes on to de scribe a time when Ilium flourished and he was secretly conveyed to Thrace with provi sion and wealth. It was a time when (16-17). Here, Hecuba was mother, daughter, and wife.6 But then the affluence of Hecuba’s home was uprooted and destroyed (21-22) her sons killed (Hector, 21 and Polydorus, 25), and her husband butchered (23). Throughout the play Hec uba refers to herself and is referred to by what she once was—she came (55), being 5 Hartigan (1997) 41. 6 Within the span of two lines, Hecuba is identified by all of her roles in relation to each of her male figures: Polydorus, Cisseus, and Priam (3-4).

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43 (62, 492), and once was (493)—in contrast to what she is now— (669).7 The most poignant marker of Troy’s past glory, however, comes from the Chorus’ lament in the city’s destruction and the reco llection of their final night there (905-952). As the Trojan women sing about the end of th e evening’s festivities, we enter the most intimate of all places: the bride-chamber ( 919). The serene picture portrays the woman primping herself before she joins her husband in bed—a simple female task.8 The cries in the streets and the destru ction of the city shatter this moment, however, and send the woman out of doors, barely clothed ( 933-934), seeking the sanctuary of Artemis to provide the safety her husband (dead) canno t. The interior feminine space at Troy for Hecuba and the Trojan women was a place of pr otection and prosperity. As soon as they lose their male connection and step outside of these spaces, they must seek the sanctuary of a higher power—a divinity—to defend them. But Artemis’ altar does not save them. Without the protection of a male and the safety of walls, they become subject to slavery. In these images of Hecuba, Euripides provides an account of the roles she once possessed. Once stripped of her home and her male connections she no longer occupies a definite interior space. At the start of the play that we find that she is now in the Chersonese on the shores of Thrace.9 This land is the liminal space between Hecuba’s 7 Also referenced to in lines 56, 160, 494, 809ff, and 893. Note that most mention of Hecuba’s loss follows immediately after a statement of what she once had/was. 8 Zeitlin (1996) 190 in reference to this scene says, “T his intimate glimpse into a woman’s chamber with its typical object, the mirror, is the sign of her private world (so often depicted in vase paintings)…” 9 Whether the action occurs here or at Troy is a source of some confusion in the text, which has been observed by the scholiast ad 521. There is greater evidence for the setting to be along the shores of Thrace,

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44 past life in Troy and expected future slaver y in Greece. As noted before in Phaedra’s story, the liminal space is a dangerous area that can either force a woman to her place of proper female space or propel her to “outsid e” behavior contrary to how a woman should act. Segal identifies this setting as a “no-man’s-land between Asia and Greece.”10 Hecuba and the Trojan women are part of a Greek camp where they exist as outsiders and slaves in a martial community. For the wome n, there is only a liminal space because they do not have their city of Troy or belong to the camp of the Greeks. Their tents are separate from the male public space, which is the open terr itory along the shore where the men come together to conduct their business (9 8ff.). The further we follow the play the more we discover not what the land possesses, bu t what it lacks. We never actually see the Greek tents, the seashore, and Achilles ’ tomb, but we do hear of them. Here, however, there exist no di vine places as at Troy.11 Although the chorus exhorts Hecuba to go to the temples and altars (144, 146-147), these are only supplica tions with no direct consequences and where no sp ecific action ever occurs.12 Not only is the land devoid of divine sanctuaries, it is lack ing in the divinities themselv es. The prologue does not open with a divinity, but a disembodied ghost; th e Greeks are hindered from their voyage first because the text itself indi cates this (35) and second beca use it accentuates the proximity of Polymestor and his appearance in the story. The argument that the setting is in Troy because Polyxena is sacrificed at the tomb of Achilles is less convincing because we never actually see this any part of this locale. Rather, the action that occurs there is relayed by a messenger. 10 Segal (1990a) 305. In addition, Segal (1990b) 109 points out that Polymestor’s command is a “land” (770-771) and not a city. The city is actually never acknowledged by anything else other than its name. Instead it is represented as a “house”. Zeitlin (199 6) 173 suggests this same notion when she says, “[Thrace] seems to have only one inhabitant – a man, Polymestor, together with his children…” 11 Euripides mentions the altar where Priam was slain (23), the shrine of Artemis where the Trojan women sought protection (290, 935) and a temple to Athena (1008). 12 See Zeitlin (1996) 174-175.

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45 home not by a god, but by Achilles’ shade demanding a sacrifice to his tomb;13 and the close of the play imparts a prophesy, not fr om deity, but a mutilated king. The gods are only present in the general mention of their names. 14 The land and the gods exist in words, but never concretely. In this in-between space, Hecuba attemp ts to continue her feminine roles. However, she is now only a mother. She no longer has a husband or a city to be a wife and queen. Though she lives among the Greeks as a slave to Agamemnon,15 she claims that her city still lives on through her children (80, 281).16 When the Chorus reveals the assembly’s decision to sacrifice Polyxena to the ghost of Achilles, He cuba behaves in the only way she knows how—she assumes the cust omary female posture as suppliant in order to gain sympathy and favor toward her requests.17 She beseeches the male figure, Odysseus, who has the power to carry out act ion (294-295), and begs for the life of her daughter. In her speech she asks for repaym ent for the favor she granted Odysseus when she saved his life in Troy. She then furnishe s alternative victims for sacrifice, naming 13 Polydorus appears in the prologue and gives this explanation for the presence of the Greek army along the shores of Thrace, but whether or not this is comple tely accurate is called into question when we find out that after Polyxena has been slain, the Gr eeks still have not received a favorable wind ( 900). 14 Zeitlin (1996) 172-216 provides a thorough analysis on the significance of Dionysus in both language and action that occurs throughout the play and identifies the Hekabe as a typical Dionysiac plot. It is a play where all roles and morality are thrown into deep conf usion and women violate typical social behaviors. The presence of Dionysus is clear in the background of th e plot, but on the surface, none of the gods seem to exist. See also Segal (1989) 9-29. 15 See Gregory (1992) 266-269 for Agamemnon as Hecuba’s master. 16 Zeitlin (1996) 188 states, “Light is equivalent to child, and one depends upon the other. Without living children, one may look at the light but yet no longer exist: to look at a dead child negates one’s existence, both present and future, for the child is often imagined as the light or eye of one’s life and also of one’s house.” 17 See Mercier (1993) 149-160 on Hecuba’s supplication to Odysseus and also Gould (1973) 74-103 on supplication in Greek literature.

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46 oxen and even Helen, and finally ends by appealing to Nomos However, it is Nomos that has brought about the need for Polyxena’s sacrif ice in the first place for the dead require honors (309, 316). Hecuba’s petitions, as she so aptly put it, were (335) because she is among those of no account (294). The content of her speech does not and cannot persuade Odysseus. As a female sl ave, she has no power or position.18 Polyxena, however, does not need Hecuba to beg for her life, for the princess has decided that she will willingly go to her death. Like Hecuba, Polyxena is also bereft of a male figure and home, but although she is bei ng led to her slaughter she ironically does not act the part of the female victim or plead for a male to speak on her behalf. In the absence of a man, Polyxena chooses instead to assume male roles and, by refusing to supplicate Odysseus and to live life as a slave, has chosen her death. As she is led away she is veiled as a woman who obediently follows the male. The site of Achilles’ tomb, however, serves as a liminal space for Polyxe na who stands on the threshold between life and death. Here she acts as both male and fema le. In the role of a male, Polyxena does not allow anyone to touch her to hold her down (548), but offers her body willingly to the knife.19 More importantly, she addresses the assembly with a speech and unbelievably bares her body for all to see. The female body, only acceptable for view in the privacy of the home, is made public. Polyxena, however, is not condemned for this gesture because in the eyes of the Greek army, she is not a female victim who must be held down and slaughtered, but rather a hero. With the reversal of roles, there came about a reversal of space—Achilles’ tomb, a public area, brought Polyxena her honor. In her death she 18 Conacher (1961) 18. 19 See Zeitlin (1996) 199.

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47 ceases to act the part of a man but falls gracefully, covering herself as a proper woman should.20 In recognition of the honor of this ma iden, the Greek soldiers “clothe” her body with leaves and branches, and eventually she will be forever covered over in flames or a grave. Hecuba pleaded to Odysseus for Polyxena’s life, but her daughter willingly chose to face death. When Hecuba discovers the death of her son, Polydorus, once again, as a suppliant, she petitions a male figure to act on her behalf. This time Agamemnon is the recipient of her pleas, an d once more she appeals to Nomos and begs for pity. When she recognizes that her speech (813), she shifts her approach and entreats the power of Peitho This alteration in speech begins her progression toward transformation in assuming male roles. This is emphasized to an even greater extent when we see Hecuba use Cassandra’s body as a commodity and expect repayment from Agamemnon for it.21 Agamemnon, however, refuses to avenge her cause. With no figure, no space, and now deprived of two more of her children, Hecuba decides that she must become the man herself and punish her son’s murderer. With the reversal of roles comes also th e alteration of space. No longer is the interior a woman’s domain of protection, rest, and adornment. The Chorus’ reminiscence of their final night in Troy, fittingly placed right before the Trojan women’s act of violence, provides a stark contrast between their former domestic space and the inner space of the tent. This new interior beco mes a place of vengeance and murder. Segal 20 I emphasize the verb “act” because, logically, Polyxena could never be a man. I may be arguing semantics, but the point is that she assumes male beha viors and in a public sphere is lauded for them. There is no denying that she is a woman, and when she dies, she does so as a respectable female. 21 A woman’s body is often seen as an object of exchange and her male figure is the one who has authority over her body. See Wohl (1998) 1-294.

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48 defines the female interior area as “the space of the irrational or the aspects of the personality that are hidden, dark, and fearful. It is often the place of female sexuality, deceit, and revenge.”22 Although Greek men did perceive female space as places of guile and mystery (mostly because these areas were prohibited to them),23 I would argue that this is not what we see in this tragedy. Hecuba’s spaces reflect her very decisi on to act the part of the male. Therefore, her behaviors in her new space become completely reversed. The interior was once her area of safety and serv itude to a male figure, but it then becomes her place of dominance and destruction. Agamemnon’s tent can no longer be conceived as feminine space, because the people who act within it are not women. In the Chorus’ lament of their final night in Troy they spoke of adorning and decorating themselves within the interior space of their bedchamber In the tent, the reverse occurs. They slowly strip Polymestor of his sword, his chil dren, and his robe. Just as it was improper for females to step out of doors, Polymestor’s presence in the “women’s quarters” is the reverse impropriety—the intrusion of a male in “feminine space”. When Polymestor asks Hecuba if it is safe to enter the women’s te nts, it is followed by the question of whether or not there were any men around (1017). Polyme stor recognized that were he to enter a female space without permission, it would constitute an act of hybris .24 What Polymestor did not realize, though, was that the women within have b ecome men who will carry out 22 Segal (1990b) 125. 23 See Zeitlin (1990) 355. 24 Refer to chapter I page 2 of this thesis.

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49 Hecuba’s revenge. Hecuba acts the part of the kyrios and with her words now effective, she is able to persuade Poly mestor to enter the tent. Once Hecuba has completed her act of veng eance, her assumption of male roles is truly complete. She solidified her transformati on with a single unspeakable act. Her new position is quickly tested within the public realm of men when she defends herself and her deeds before the assembly. In a place where she was previously unwelcome,25 she speaks on her own behalf and persuades the Gree k assembly of the justice of her actions. The reversals of space are brought to fulfillment in the end with Polymestor’s prophecies. He destroys Hecuba entirely by foretelling th e death of her last child, Cassandra, and her own metamorphosis into a dog. She is no longer a queen, wife, mother, or even human being. Throughout the Hecuba Euripides gives us deeper and more distinct pictures of the settings within the play. In the broad view lies the Chersonese, the land between Hecuba’s old home and new, between former and future life. This locale is then narrowed to the area of the Greek camp, where H ecuba exists as an outsider and slave in the realm of men. Within this space are thr ee settings: the tomb of Achilles, the outside (in general), and the tent of Agamemnon. Achilles’ tomb was a public space that embraced Polyxena’s heroism and encircled he r forever as a maiden. The outside was a place that brought Hecuba, the woman, pain and rejection through the death of her children and the refusal of her supplications. However, for Hecuba as her own male figure, Agamemnon’s tent becomes her place of violence and dominance. Once her transformation is accomplished, the exterior sp ace no longer serves as a place of pain, but 25 Odysseus refused to let her die with her daughter (389-390). Neither her presence nor death was needed to appease Achilles.

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50 of victory. Hecuba moves beyond the liminal space of the Chersonese and chooses a definite space the moment she chooses to act an d enter the tent to kill and harm. In this space Hecuba finds her voice but loses her iden tity. She chose to step outside into the public realm of men and by her ac tions there played the part of a man; as she departs for her new home, she leaves as a beast.

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51 CHAPTER 6 ELECTRA The opening lines of Euripides’ Electra concerns a place ( 1) and a man, which we hear is Argos (6) and Agamemnon (3). However, the play does not focus on these two elements, but ra ther the lack of them. In the prologue the audience discovers that this Agamemnon, has been murdered by his wife while his daughter, Electra, has been forced outside of the palace to liv e in poverty with a farmer. In contrast to the tomb in the Choephoroi and the palace in Sophocles’ Elektra here Euripides has placed Electra on a farm at the outskirts of the city. In doing so he emphasizes the extreme distance between Electra ’s present location and her former place inside the palace. Finally, at the end of the play, she will be exiled from the land altogether. After the death of her fath er, Electra’s existence w ithin the palace had been anything but grand. She was kept in seclusion cut off from a ny male suitors in fear that she would give birth to a child who w ould avenge her father’s death (23-24).1 Electra claims that her brother left her in the palace in (132-134) and there she remained until she was wedded to the farmer—a wedding in name only. All of this is told to us by Electra’s current man, the humble farmer. Electra’s isolation is key to Euripides’ characterization of her. These ye ars outside of the palace have allowed her ample opportunity to lament her situation and resent Aegisthus and her mother for 1 It was inconceivable that Electra, a female, would ever avenge her father’s death. Just as Hippolytus underestimates the vengeance of a woman, so too does Aegisthus and Clytemnestra.

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52 placing her there. Indeed, throughout the play she spends her time pitying herself. She lacks, or thinks she lacks, a real man to prot ect her in a space that is unfamiliar to one of her status. We first meet Electra carrying a pot for wa ter on her way to the spring—a servant’s task in which she rejoices in order to show the gods how Aegisthus’ cruelty has degraded her. Her toil, however, is not forced upon her through necessity, but by her own volition. As the dialogue continues between Electra and the farmer, we see that in spite of all her complaints her labors are not even that difficult ( 77-78). When she returns from the spring she is si nging and dancing a lament for her father and brother, but on closer examination, her hymn grieves more for herself than anyone else. It begins with her pitiable situation, (114),2 her hard toil and hateful life (120-121), and then turns to the death of her father, which is then followed by the exile of her brother. Although she calls Orestes her (131), her misfortunes are the most grievous ( 134). Despite all the mourning she does for her father, not once do we hear of her visiting her father’s grave and performing funerary rites there. Furthermore the more we hear her compla ints the more we discover that she has brought them upon herself. The Chorus of wome n invite Electra to the festival of Hera, but she refuses, claiming her appearance (blemished by tearful nights and cut hair3) is not fit for the occasion (175-189). She is keener on doing a dance for her misfortunes than dancing with the brides of Argos for the godde ss. When offered clothes and finery to 2 This phrase is repeated again in the two following antistrophe at lines 129 and 159. 3 See Falconer (1995) 319.

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53 wear she does not even respond to the Chor us’ assistance, but continues on with the unfortunate state of her affairs, first pitying father, brother, then self—this time grieving her impoverished living situation. Electra cl early obtains satisfac tion and joy from her self-martyrdom and weeping.4 Once she encounters the stra ngers (Orestes and Pylades) and hears about her brother’s status, she unleashes her miseri es once again on a fresh pair of ears—this time bemoaning her appear ance, marriage, and squalid home (239, 247, 251). She reiterates these same (301) once again at the close of her speech (304-313). All of her lamentations stem from the fact that she has no male figure in her life or, at least, no ma le she is willing to recognize. This is clear enough in her speech. In her first hundred lines even before she converses with Orestes, Electra has mentioned her father or his death sixteen times,5 Orestes three times,6 and the farmer twice.7 Even in her isolation these men are c onstantly in her thoughts and words. With the deficiency of a male figure,8 she has no roles—daughter sister, or wife—and therefore no identity. Electra’s situation is pitiable to be sure, but it perhaps w ould not be so grievous if it were not for the fact that she spends most of her time comparing what she does not have 4 See Raeburn (2000) 151-154. 5 Electra identifies him by some form of eleven times at lines 59, 121, 137, 141, 143, 153, 156, 161, 188, 200, and 206. When she calls him by name, it is in reference to Agamemnon as her father at lines 115, 125, and 186. She mentions Agamemnon through his death only twice at 149 and 201. 6 Electra refers to Orestes as her brother (131), by name (63), or through his exile (202). 7 When she speaks about the farmer, she calls him as either a friend ( 67) or as a poor man/laborer ( 207). The only time she refers to him as her husb and at all in the play is at line 366 after Orestes speaks about the pretense of their marriage ( ). She never identifies the farmer as her husband, but rather as one who is called her husband ( ). 8 The farmer does not serve as a sufficient male connec tion for Electra. See below for my argument on this.

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54 to what her mother does. Part of her lame nting comes from the fact that she does not possess what she feels she is entitled to. She is cast from the royal halls, her ancestral home, (306) as a fugitive (209) or a prisone r (1009), and, therefore, no longer possesses the fineries or adornments fit for the royal child of Agamemnon (186). Clytemnestra sits upon the throne (315) as queen wh ile Electra is in a peasant’s hut (206). Her mother is surrounded by wealth and luxury (314, 967, 1011) in stark contrast to her own poverty.9 Moreover, the queen is amid a crowd of serv ants, Phrygian spoils who “adorn her home” (316, 1007), but Electra feels and lo oks like a slave (107, 1004). These regal luxuries, however, are only a fraction of what she complains about. What she truly resents is the fact that she ha s lost her rightful pl ace within the palace. She says that Clytemnestra robbed her and Ores tes of their status in the house (lit., made them subordinate, 63), taking it away at the d eath of her father. She is further humiliated by her banishment to the country—the outdoor space of poor women and slaves who had to work for a living. Art presents the ideali zed form of the female as pale, because she was supposed to stay indoors, and the nor mally dark-skinned Greek women would apply whitening make up to make themselves l ook paler, and thus more aristocratic.10 A princess placed outdoors and thus having the lik eness of a poor country woman or a slave would feel humiliated and rejected because of this. Electra’s loss of luxury is one thing; her loss of status—something altogether worse. The disparity that Electra pe rhaps laments most is that her mother has a husband and children—in essence, a new family—while she has (49). At the 9 For the disparity between Electra’s destitution and Cl ytemnestra’s wealth see Ze itlin (1970) 647, O’Brien (1964), 32-34, and Kubo (1967) 23. 10 For depictions of women on ancient pottery see Rasmussen et al. (1991) 1-282.

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55 palace Electra was cut off from any male suito rs, but now she lives in a marriage that is not truly a marriage. Although Electra ke eps up the pretense of the union by doing feminine household duties ( 74-75), nothing binds the two together as husband and wife. The farmer refuses to shame her in bed or touch her (43-44, 51, 255), and so they have no children. What is more, with all of the female duties that Electra claims to carry out, she does not even know how to entertain guests (357) or prepare them a meal (422-423) as a proper wi fe was expected to do. The greatest indicator of the fals ity of their marriage, however is found in the statement, “ ” (259). The farmer knows that Aegisthus had no right to give Electra to him because Clytemne stra’s lover was not Electra’s rightful male figure. This counterfeit marriage is furthe r exposed at the end of the play when the Discouri tell Orestes to give Electra to Pylades as hi s wife (1249, 1284), either completely disregarding the fact that she is married to the farmer or considering it null and void. Only Orestes, who is Electra’s proper male connection, can obey their order and join Electra in true marriage with Pylade s. Electra’s union w ith the farmer, because it is false, serves as another source of misery in the disparity between her life and that of her mother’s. Electra’s comparisons with Clytemnestra accentuate her woes, but also create a distinction between her and her mother. Electra sees Clytemnestra as a quintessential dissolute and base woman. She is the adultere ss who primps herself before the mirror to display herself in public for some evil while her husband is away (1070ff.), betrays her connubial bed (920), and marries in shame (916ff.). Clytemnestra has stepped out of her interior space and exchanged her husband for a lover, becoming the typical promiscuous

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56 woman. She rejected her connection with Agamemnon and persuaded Aegisthus to slaughter him. As the adulteress, she vi olates the division of space; and though she remains in the palace, it is no longer a home w ithout the true male leader. Clytemnestra has destroyed the household, and therefore the hous ehold (her offspring) will destroy her. This is how Electra views her mother. In Electra’s mind, her mother is the wicked woman who steps out of doors, but in actualit y, Electra is the one who stands at the exterior. She has been exiled from the palace Despite her attempts to contrast herself with her mother, at the same time she desires to possess everything that Clytemnestra has. Eventually, they become one and the same for although Electra condemns her mother, she will repeat her very crime. As Clytem nestra stained the palace, so will Electra pollute her new “space”—the hut to which she has been exiled. During the course of the play as we h ear Electra grieving, we may become annoyed with her whining, but we still pity her and f eel she is justified in her hatred toward Aegisthus and Clytemnestra. As the play pr ogresses, however, we begin to see that her view of the world is distorted and thi ngs are not entirely as she sees them.11 The lowly farmer with whom she has entered into a (247) is a man of great virtue (367ff.)12 while the brother whom she believe d so brave and courageous is a coward. Her false marriage is a far cry from the luxuries of the palace (where she claims she ought to be), but here on the fa rm she is surrounded by kindness and care.13 The tragedy of Electra is not her sorrowful circ umstance, but rather the progressive unveiling 11 For an in-depth analysis of Electra’s “double vision” see Arnott (1981) 179-192 and Hartigan (1991) 107-126. 12 On the character of the farmer see Sheppard (1918) 137-138. 13 Morwood (1981) 368-369.

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57 of her distorted sense of reality that leads he r to kill her mother. Her time outside of the palace devoid of a male figure has perverted her perception of the world. She believes that Orestes, her courageous brother ( ), would never enter Argos in secret (525-526) nor would he resemble her in stature (537) because he is a man trained at th e gym. As we discover Orestes’ character, however, we find that he is spinel ess and unwilling to take any risks.14 In his opening speech he says that he came into Argos (88) and does not even intend to enter within the city walls (94). He has no plan to avenge his father, but instead asks Electra and then the Old Man what he should do (274, 612). He is also extremely hesitant to reveal his identity to his sister because he realizes that “once recognized he will have to act.”15 Clytemnestra, too, despite all of her heinous past acts, is not the wretched woman we see Electra describing over and over again. Though we may know her as an adulteress, this is not the woman we see in the play. Instead, Euripides shows her as a truly caring mother. As Arno tt points out, Clytemnestra was the one who saved Electra from death (28ff.) and chose to visit her daughter after her repor ted childbearing; she appears to worry about her image and her children.16 Aegisthus’ portrayal suffers the same distortion when viewed through Electra’s skewed lens. In contrast to the man who rides about in Agamemnon’s chariot, defiles the former king’s grave (319ff.), corrupted 14 Sheppard (1918) 138 casts Orestes as “cautious beyond measure, weak, indecisive…” 15 Halporn (1983) 103. 16 Arnott (1981) 184.

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58 her mother, and killed her father (916ff.), we see that Aegisthus is a congenial host who invites strangers to celebrate in his sacrifice (779ff.). Electra’s distorted vision and false sense of reality is due to her isolation and lack of male figures. Without men in her life sh e has no roles. She can be no daughter to a dead father (or step-father who exiles her), no si ster to a banished brother, and no wife to a pretend husband. She does nothing other than menial chores, sit and lament, dance and lament, or sing her lament. It is no wonder th at Electra is so willing to die once she has killed her mother (281) because she essentia lly has nothing else to live for, which she comes to realize at the end of the play. If her situation seemed pitiable when she compared herself to her mother, we see that she is even worse off because her values are entirely distorted. All of her years alone, her miserable suffe rings, the absence of a male figure, and her delusions of reality have led up to the recognition scene with Orestes where she is ripe for vengeance. Orestes finally returns as her savior—her male figure who can set her life aright and avenge her father’s murderers (600). However, what she believes of his courage and valor is not exactly what she en counters. She believes Orestes will do the deed, but fears also that he will fail. She sits in agony awaiting th e news of whether or not he is victorious while poise d ready to kill herself (694ff.). Increasingly we see that brother and sister are nothing alike.17 Where Orestes is cowardly and hesitant, she takes the lead and so attempts to become her own savior. Electra is th e one who plans out the death of her mother and provi des the story to bring Clytem nestra to her home; Electra sends Orestes inside while she stands outsi de and brings her mother into the house; 17 See Halporn (1983) 101-118 for the distancing of brother and sister.

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59 Electra guides Orestes’ blind ha nd to drive the sword into thei r mother. In the absence of a male figure to avenge her cause (or rather in the presence of one who is too cowardly to act), Electra becomes her own male figure. Her years outside of the palace may have ma de her callous and angry, but they have not prepared her to fully assume the male roles she has carried out. For after Electra killed her mother, she was instantly remorseful of her actions. However, we see that she has not stopped thinking about herself or he r position as a woman. The first thing she asks is who will marry her now. She still long s for a man, a place, a home. Orestes is the only one who has the authority to provide her this and is told twice by the Discouri to give her to Pylades (1249, 1284). The entire play is the struggle for Electra to make for herself a space and she does achieve this in the end. But why? After such calculated and wicked deeds, how is it that Electra gets what she desired all along? One wonders if Euripides is rewarding her behavior or saying that her ve ngeance was just. Not at all. Based on how we have seen Euripides characterize Electra we know that her situation is pitiable, to be sure, but not just cause for murder. Euripides does not allow us to sympathize with Electra; she has already done that enough for herself. The ab sence of any male figure and her distance outside of the palace has ar oused her vengeance and caused her to commit her shameful act. Therefore, I believe that Euripides has presented this ending because he is providing Electra with a male guardian in place of Ores tes who is being exiled. Electra still gets what she wants, not because she deserved to have a true husband but because this guardian will keep her under control and will provide a space for her. This is substantiated by line 1311 when Ores tes asks if his sister will be all right now that he is

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60 exiled. The Discouri say that though she may be exiled from Argos, she has a husband and home, which is all she needs.

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61 CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSION Throughout these four plays we see that Euripides defines female space by a male figure as much as or perhaps even more so than the actually physical in terior space itself. The concept of female space and male connectio n is so intricately woven together, that for a woman, being without a man is essentia lly equivalent to being without a space. When Medea rejected her father and chose Ja son, she left her homeland. After she lost Jason to another woman, she becomes an exile from Corinth. When she acquires the allegiance of Aegeus, she gains a new space and a new home. Phaedra, whose husband is off in a foreign country, asso ciates the interior with Th eseus and the exterior with Hippolytus, and shifts between both spaces. Hecuba has lost both husband and male children and was abandoned to a life of slav ery. She would have no real home, although she would be the servant of a male. She subsisted within the Chersonese until she abandons the land altogether. Although the farmer is not a true male figure for Electra, she lives within his home, but outside the pal ace walls. Just as women were identified in the law courts through their male relations, here in Euripides’ tragedies, without a male, a woman has no identity, no space, and no existence. Euripides’ views on the seclusion of wo men to the home seem no different then other men of his time. He demonstrates th at the moment his wo men “step outside the palace”, whether by choice or compulsion, they are doomed. In terior spaces are associated with female passivity and proper behavior while exterior spaces belong to the public realm of men and cause women pain and suffering. We see these very ideas

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62 reflected in the spacing of these women. Medea was a passive victim until she stepped outside of her house; Phaedra suffered in sile nce inside her room; Hecuba was a queenly mother and wife before the destruction of Tr oy; and Electra endured her seclusion within the palace walls.1 The moment these women lose their feminine space or exit their homes, however, they experience even greater misfortune or behave in ways improper for females to act. Medea kills Glauke, Creon, and then her children; Phaedra reveals her passion for Hippolytus and then writes a false accusation against him; Hecuba blinds Polymestor and kills his children; and Electra kills her mother after abetting the death of her stepfather. The interior is the female domain, while the exterior is a place of improper behavior. When a man kills his enemy, he is a hero. When a woman does the same, she is a villain. Males have so arra nged the world that the same act takes on a different status dependent upon who—man or woman—does it. Euripides’ innovative nature does not lie in the fact that he brings his women outside of the house, but rather in that he has them act as ma les. All of these women first endured their situati on as women were expected to do—inside in silence or through supplications. But in the absence of thei r male figure, these women carry out male actions, which, in these plays, involve murder of some kind. With th e reversal of their roles came a reversal of space, with the resu lt that the women used their interior space— the former place of passivity—for acts of vi olence and destruction. The moment they do this, however, they can never return to these spaces, for they are no longer their places of refuge, protection, and feminine roles. Me dea flees to Athens, Phaedra dies, Hecuba 1 Electra may still have lamented her situation, but she would have at least done so as a princess under the care of her mother instead of as a po or pauper. I would even go as far to say that had she remained inside the palace, she would not have resented Clytemnestra as much as she did as an exile and pseudo-wife to the farmer.

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63 departs from the land, and Electra is exile d. As women their connection with these specific spaces is lost and they must attempt to regain another female space elsewhere. Although Euripides seems to propagate fema le behaviors in exterior spaces as dangerous, still, we see that when women be have as men, they are successful. What makes these women so remarkable and at the sa me time so fearful is the fact that they succeed, not behaving as women, but as men. What is Euripides telling his audience when he allows these females to accomp lish their desires for revenge? He, unlike Hippolytus, can conceive of th ese women out of doors, but is Euripides, through these female successes, saying that it is permi ssible for females to exit the home? I do not think so. Euripides is the impartial drama tist. He neither condemns nor condones his characters, but portrays them as human beings Euripides could have just as easily not allowed these women to accomplish their goals. In a sense, he does have them fail. It is a question of how one measures success. Can a woman truly feel victor ious at the cost of the lives of her children, her own life, her de generacy to an animal, or her own exile? But the measuring these females’ success or failure would be missing the point. Euripides is representing r eality. The Athenian female, if placed in these same circumstances, could carry out all of these ac tions. The truth of the matter, however, is that although these women have carried out their vengeance in male form, we see that they cannot exist without a male figure. Th ey have committed male acts and have all been successful, but their glory is stained, for they have been rewarded as men and not as women. A woman acting as a male is, indee d, not only outside the palace, but also her proper space. Thus in the end she must be restored to a male, a kyrios or die.

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64 Euripides, despite his reputation for innovati on, if analyzed as I have here, seems to share the views of his audience: women outside the palace are dangerous. But he has, nevertheless, questioned the prevailing ideas, he has dared to ask if women can be like men. And although to do so does not earn thes e females praise, Euripides can answer his own question with a resounding yes.

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67 Gould, J. 1973. “Hiketeia.” JHS 93: 74-103. Grene, D. 1939. “The Interpretation of the Hippolytus of Euripides.” Classical Philology 34: 45-58. _______. 1959. Hippolytus In David Grene and Richard Lattimore., eds., The Complete Tragedies: Euripides I Chicago. 71-119. Gregory, J. 1992. “Euripides ‘Hecuba’ 54.” Phoenix 46: 266-269. _________. 1995. “Geneology and Intertextuality in Hecuba.” AJPh 116: 389-397. Grube, G. M. A. 1961. The Drama of Euripides London. Halleran, M. 1991. “Gamos and Destruc tion in Euripides’ Hippolytus.” TAPA 121: 109121. Halporn, J. 1983. “The Skeptical Electra.” HSCP 87: 101-118. Hanson, J. O. De G. 1965. “The Secret of Medea’s Success.” Greece & Rome 12: 54-61. Harrison, A. R. W. 1968. Athenian Law of Property London. Hartigan, K. V. 1991. Ambiguity and Self-Deception: Th e Apollo and Artemis Plays of Euripides New York. ___________. 1997. “Male Sacrifice/Female Revenge in a Godless World: Euripides’ Hekabe .” Colby Quarterly 33: 26-41. Henrichs, A. 2000. “Drama and Dromena: Violence, Bloodshed, and Sacrificial Metaphor in Euripides.” HSCP 100: 173-188. Just, R. 1989. Women in Athenian Life and Law London. Kapparis, K. 1999. Apollodoros “Against Neaira” [D.59] Berlin. Kirkwood, G. M. 1947. “Hecuba and Nomos.” TAPA 78: 61-68. Kitto, H. D. F. 1978. Greek Tragedy London. Kovacs, D. 1987. “Where Is Aegisthus’ Head?” Classical Philology 82: 139-141. ________. 1994. Euripides. Cyclops. Alcestis. Medea. Cambridge, MA. Kubo, M. 1967. “The Norm of Myth: Euripides’ Electra.” HSCP 71: 15-31. Lloyd, M. 1986. “Realism and Character in Euripides’ ‘Electra’.” Phoenix 40: 1-19.

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69 ________. 1995. “Gender Relations in the Cl assical Greek Household: The Archaeological Evidence.” ABSA 90: 363-381. ________. 1999. House and Society in Ancient Greece Cambridge, UK. O’Brien, M. 1964. “Orestes and the Gorgon: Euripides’ Electra.” AJPh 85: 13-39. Padel, R. 1983. “Women: Model for Possession by Greek Daemons.” In Averil Cameron and Amelie Kuhrt., eds., Images of Women in Antiquity Detroit. 3-19. Pedley, J. G. 2002. Greek Art and Archaeology Princeton. Pickard-Cambridge, A. 1968. Dramatic Festivals of Athens Oxford. Polack, B. H. 1976. “Euripides, Electra 473-5.” CQ 26: 3. Pomeroy, S. B. 1991. “The Study of Women in Antiquity: Past, Present, and Future.” AJPh 112: 263-268. ___________. 1994. Xenephon’s Oeconomicus. A Socia l and Historical Commentary Oxford. Powell, A. 1988. Athens and Sparta: Constructing Gr eek Political and Social History from 478 B.C. London. Rabinowitz, N. 1993. Anxiety Veiled: Euripides and the Traffic in Women London. Raeburn, D. 2000. “The Significance of Stag e Properties in Euripides’ ‘Electra’.” Greece & Rome 47: 149-168. Rasmussen, T. and N. Spivey. 1991. Looking at Greek Vases Cambridge, UK. Reckford, K. 1968. “Medea’s First Exit.” TAPA 99: 329-359. _________. 1974. “Phaedra & Pasiphae: The Pull Backward.” TAPA 104: 307-328. Richter, D.C. 1971. “The Position of Women in Classical Athens.” CJ 67: 1-8. Rosivach, V. 1978. “The ‘Golden Lamb’ Ode in Euripides’ Electra.” Classical Philology 73: 189-199. Schaps, D. 1977. “The Woman Least Menti oned: Etiquette and Women’s Names.” CQ 27: 323-330. Scheidel, W. 1995. “The Most Silent Wo men of Greece and Rome: Rural Labour and Women’s Life in the Ancient World (I).” Greece & Rome 42: 202-217. Scodel, R. 1998. “The Captive’s Dilemma: Se xual Acquiescence in Euripides Hecuba and Troades.” HSCP 98: 137-154.

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70 Segal, C. 1965. “The Tragedy of the Hi ppolytus: The Waters of Ocean and the Untouched Meadow: In Memoriam Arthur Darby Nock.” HSCP 70: 117-169. _______. 1989. “The Problem of the Gods in Euripides’ Hecuba.” MD 22: 9-21. _______. 1990a. “Golden Armor and Servile Robe s: Heroism and Metamorphosis in Hecuba of Euripides.” AJPh 111: 304-317. _______. 1990b. “Violence and the Other: Greek, Fe male, and Barbarian in Euripides’ Hecuba.” TAPA 120: 109-131. Shaw, M. 1975. “The Female Intruder: Women in Fifth-Century Drama.” CPh 70: 255268. Sheppard, J.T. 1918. “The Electra of Euripides.” The Classical Review 32: 137-141. Sider, D. 1977. “Two Stage Directions for Euripides.” AJPh 98: 16-19. Slater, N. 2000. “Dead Again: (En) gendering Praise in Euripides’ Alcestis .” Helios 27: 105-121. Smith, W. 1960. “Staging in the Ce ntral Scene of the Hippolytus.” TAPA 91: 162-177. Spranger, J. A. 1927. “The Problem of the Hecuba.” CQ 21: 155-158. Walker, S. 1983. “Women and Housing in Classical Greece: the Archaeological Evidence.” In Averil Cameron and Amelie Kuhrt., eds., Images of Women in Antiquity Detroit. 81-91. Walsh, G. B. 1979. “Public and Privat e in Three Plays of Euripides.” Classical Philology 74: 294-309. Walton, F. R. 1949. “Euripides, Medea, 160-172: A New Interpretation.” AJPh 70: 411413. Warner, R. 1955. The Medea David Grene and Richmond Lattimore., eds., Euripides I The Complete Greek Tragedies New York. 59-117. Webb, R. H. 1962. Frogs Moses Hadas., ed., The Complete Plays of Aristophanes New York. 367-415. Winnington-Ingram, R. P. 1937. “Euripides, Electra 1292-1307.” Classical Review 51: 51-52. Wohl, V. 1998. Intimate Commerce, Exchange, Gende r & Subjectivity in Greek Tragedy Austin. Zeitlin, F. 1970. “The Argive Festival of Hera and Euripides’ Electra.” TAPA 101: 645669.

PAGE 78

71 _______. 1990. “Playing the Other.” In John Winkler and Froma Zeitlin., eds., Nothing to Do with Dionysos?: Athenian Drama in Its Social Context Princeton. 341-374. _______. 1996. Playing the Other: Gender and Societ y in Classical Greek Literature Chicago. Zelenak, M. 1998. Gender and Politics in Greek Tragedy New York.

PAGE 79

72 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Jeannie Thanh Nguyen was born to Mr. and Mrs. Luc Nguyen on February 14, 1982. Born and raised in Winter Haven, FL, sh e graduated as the salutatorian from Lake Region High School in May 2000. In 2004 she completed her Bachelor of Arts in classics and Bachelor of Science in psychology at the University of Florida. She will also receive a Master of Arts in classics from the University of Florida in 2006.


Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0014390/00001

Material Information

Title: Women outside the palace : Euripidean women and their space
Physical Description: vii, 72 p.
Language: English
Creator: Nguyen, Jeannie Thanh ( Dissertant )
Hartigan, Karelisa V. ( Thesis advisor )
Kapparis, Konstantinos ( Reviewer )
Young, David ( Reviewer )
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2006
Copyright Date: 2006

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Classics thesis, M.A   ( local )
Dissertations, Academic -- UF -- Classics   ( local )

Notes

Abstract: The characters of Euripides' dramas are the threads that create his intricate narrative, and when woven together through situations crossing space and time, they produce a masterful account of tragic and often less than tragic figures. Euripides' characters defy the ordinary ideals of tragedy. Euripides' women, though mythical characters, often operate outside of the conventions of proper womanly behavior. My purpose in this thesis is to investigate Euripides' female characters in the Medea, Hippolytus, Hecuba, and Electra, the spaces associated with each principal character, and, more specifically, the behavior the women display within and outside of their female spaces. In the first part of my work I introduce the spaces Athenian women inhabited and describe the typical roles expected within these areas. The purpose of this is to establish a standard of behavior with which to compare the actions of the predominant female figures in Euripides' tragedies. For instance, Electra states that her place is in the house and her task is to keep it tidy. The movement from typical feminine spaces within to areas without, however, exhibits a change from normative behavior. Therefore, the second and larger part of my work is devoted to providing an analysis of the behaviors the women exhibit in these four tragedies in order to explain the implications of these actions, namely how these behaviors are associated with their feminine space and how Euripides uses the women's space to heighten his narrative. For example, in the Hippolytus, Phaedra constantly wavers in her desires to be inside and outside the house. Through this analysis I hope to demonstrate that the underlying continuity interlaced within the definition of feminine space is a woman's association with a male figure. Without the rightful male figure, a woman's space is either distorted or is altogether lost. Domestic space is a realm of masculine control where women are cared and provided for. Interior spaces are associated with female passivity and proper behavior. However, when these women step outside of the palace, they no longer act according to traditional standards of behavior, but enter the public world of men where they are not welcome. These women, in turn, act as men, and therefore achieve their goals. In the end, though, Euripides' tragedies demonstrate that it is those women who are restored to male figures that continue to live on. The Athenian female cannot exist without a male.
Subject: Alcestis, ancient, domestic, electra, exterior, feminine, Hecuba, Hippolytus, interior, Jeannie, medea, Nguyen, roles, space, women
General Note: Title from title page of source document.
General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains 79 pages.
General Note: Includes vita.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2006.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0014390:00001

Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UFE0014390/00001

Material Information

Title: Women outside the palace : Euripidean women and their space
Physical Description: vii, 72 p.
Language: English
Creator: Nguyen, Jeannie Thanh ( Dissertant )
Hartigan, Karelisa V. ( Thesis advisor )
Kapparis, Konstantinos ( Reviewer )
Young, David ( Reviewer )
Publisher: University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2006
Copyright Date: 2006

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords: Classics thesis, M.A   ( local )
Dissertations, Academic -- UF -- Classics   ( local )

Notes

Abstract: The characters of Euripides' dramas are the threads that create his intricate narrative, and when woven together through situations crossing space and time, they produce a masterful account of tragic and often less than tragic figures. Euripides' characters defy the ordinary ideals of tragedy. Euripides' women, though mythical characters, often operate outside of the conventions of proper womanly behavior. My purpose in this thesis is to investigate Euripides' female characters in the Medea, Hippolytus, Hecuba, and Electra, the spaces associated with each principal character, and, more specifically, the behavior the women display within and outside of their female spaces. In the first part of my work I introduce the spaces Athenian women inhabited and describe the typical roles expected within these areas. The purpose of this is to establish a standard of behavior with which to compare the actions of the predominant female figures in Euripides' tragedies. For instance, Electra states that her place is in the house and her task is to keep it tidy. The movement from typical feminine spaces within to areas without, however, exhibits a change from normative behavior. Therefore, the second and larger part of my work is devoted to providing an analysis of the behaviors the women exhibit in these four tragedies in order to explain the implications of these actions, namely how these behaviors are associated with their feminine space and how Euripides uses the women's space to heighten his narrative. For example, in the Hippolytus, Phaedra constantly wavers in her desires to be inside and outside the house. Through this analysis I hope to demonstrate that the underlying continuity interlaced within the definition of feminine space is a woman's association with a male figure. Without the rightful male figure, a woman's space is either distorted or is altogether lost. Domestic space is a realm of masculine control where women are cared and provided for. Interior spaces are associated with female passivity and proper behavior. However, when these women step outside of the palace, they no longer act according to traditional standards of behavior, but enter the public world of men where they are not welcome. These women, in turn, act as men, and therefore achieve their goals. In the end, though, Euripides' tragedies demonstrate that it is those women who are restored to male figures that continue to live on. The Athenian female cannot exist without a male.
Subject: Alcestis, ancient, domestic, electra, exterior, feminine, Hecuba, Hippolytus, interior, Jeannie, medea, Nguyen, roles, space, women
General Note: Title from title page of source document.
General Note: Document formatted into pages; contains 79 pages.
General Note: Includes vita.
Thesis: Thesis (M.A.)--University of Florida, 2006.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
General Note: Text (Electronic thesis) in PDF format.

Record Information

Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
System ID: UFE0014390:00001


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WOMEN OUTSIDE THE PALACE:
EURIPIDEAN WOMEN AND THEIR SPACE

















By

JEANNIE THAN NGUYEN


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2006

































Copyright 2006

by

Jeannie Thanh Nguyen















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

My deepest thanks must go first to the professors of my committee, Dr. Karelisa

Hartigan, Dr. Konstantinos Kapparis, and Dr. David Young, for their comments and

suggestions that have made this thesis my work of art. I am especially grateful to Dr.

Hartigan for her instruction, insight, patience, and especially chastisement. She has made

me love being a scholar of Classics. Heartfelt thanks also go to Ms. Druscilla Gurahoo,

who has always saved me when I find myself in a mess. I would like to express my

greatest appreciation to my parents, sister, and brother, who have supported and

encouraged me through every endeavor. I would be lost without them. I am also

extremely grateful to Generosa, David, and Shannon for their ideas and much-welcomed

distractions-they have kept me sane. Finally, I am especially indebted to Will for

listening to me whine and then reminding me that perhaps one day I may be as great a

scholar as he is. His words have kept me going.
















TABLE OF CONTENTS



A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ......... ................................................................................... iii

LIST OF FIGURES .............. ... ................................ ......... ..v

ABSTRACT ........ .............. ............. ..... .......... .......... vi

CHAPTER

1 IN TR O D U C TIO N ......................................................................... .... .. ........

2 FE M IN IN E SP A C E ..................................................................... ......................... 8

3 M E D E A ...................................... ...................................................... 19

4 H IPPOLY TU S .......... ........ .............. ... ......... .............. ............. 31

5 H E C U B A ...................................... .....................................................4 1

6 E L E C T R A ............................................................................. 5 1

7 C O N C L U SIO N ......... ......................................................................... ......... .. 6 1

L IST O F R E FE R E N C E S ........... ............................................................... ............... 65

B IO G R A PH IC A L SK E TCH ...................................................................... ..................72
















LIST OF FIGURES


Figure p

1 Divisions of Space in Classical Homes. Female spaces marked +; male spaces
shaded. Entrances to houses from the street marked with arrows ...........................

2 Plan and Reconstruction of an Oval House, Smyrna. 10th century BC .................. 10

3 The Phases of Zagora; House Walls in Black; Left: First Phase Right: Second
P h a se ...................................... .................................................... 1 1

4 Water-jar (ca. 520 B.C.) from Athens, depicting women at a fountain house.........16

5 The progression of Medea's myth. Young (Hillsdale College Lecture, 1992).......30















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

WOMEN OUTSIDE THE PALACE:
EURIPIDEAN WOMEN AND THEIR SPACE
By

Jeannie Thanh Nguyen

May 2006

Chair: Karelisa Hartigan
Major Department: Classics

The characters of Euripides' dramas are the threads that create his intricate

narrative, and when woven together through situations crossing space and time, they

produce a masterful account of tragic and often less than tragic figures. Euripides'

characters defy the ordinary ideals of tragedy. Euripides' women, though mythical

characters, often operate outside of the conventions of proper womanly behavior.

My purpose in this thesis is to investigate Euripides' female characters in the

Medea, Hippolytus, Hecuba, and Electra, the spaces associated with each principal

character, and, more specifically, the behavior the women display within and outside of

their female spaces. In the first part of my work I introduce the spaces Athenian women

inhabited and describe the typical roles expected within these areas. The purpose of this

is to establish a standard of behavior with which to compare the actions of the

predominant female figures in Euripides' tragedies. For instance, Electra states that her

place is in the house and her task is to keep it tidy.









The movement from typical feminine spaces within to areas without, however,

exhibits a change from normative behavior. Therefore, the second and larger part of my

work is devoted to providing an analysis of the behaviors the women exhibit in these four

tragedies in order to explain the implications of these actions, namely how these

behaviors are associated with their feminine space and how Euripides uses the women's

space to heighten his narrative. For example, in the Hippolytus, Phaedra constantly

wavers in her desires to be inside and outside the house. Through this analysis I hope to

demonstrate that the underlying continuity interlaced within the definition of feminine

space is a woman's association with a male figure. Without the rightful male figure, a

woman's space is either distorted or is altogether lost. Domestic space is a realm of

masculine control where women are cared and provided for. Interior spaces are

associated with female passivity and proper behavior. However, when these women step

outside of the palace, they no longer act according to traditional standards of behavior,

but enter the public world of men where they are not welcome. These women, in turn,

act as men, and therefore achieve their goals. In the end, though, Euripides' tragedies

demonstrate that it is those women who are restored to male figures that continue to live

on. The Athenian female cannot exist without a male.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Euripides:
i~TELTa TOUTOUOi AXAETV Si1ccSa -
VOETv 6pav p uvtLval cyrpEqcEL p paV TEXV(CELV,
KQX' UTOTo"TrETlGo TrEpLvoETv TrraVTa -

Then I taught these people (characters) to speak -
to think, to see, to understand, to love to twist, to scheme,
to suspect wicked things, to contrive cunningly all things -

Aristophanes, Frogs, 954, 957-958

Euripides was an unconventional tragedian who did not reinforce or validate the

prevailing principles of the Athenian polis, as did Sophocles or Aeschylus, but rather

represented current social ideologies as false, gross, and mistaken. One way in which his

tragedies reflect this very concept is through his dramatic creation of a world where the

women are the intricate and developed characters while the males are often degraded to

gender stereotypes. By placing the female at the core of the dramatic action of his plays,

"he feminized tragedy, the most masculine institution of the Athenian democratic

patriarchy, and symbolically castrated the manly, 'lofty,' heroic legacy of Aeschylus."1

Countering male against female, depraved morality against virtue, passion against

reason, Euripides' tragedies extend beyond simply speaking "honorable things"2 and in

his departure from the standard, reveal the faults and weaknesses of Athenian values. In


1 Zelenak (1998) 101.
2 Aristophanes Frogs 1055.









his portrayal in Aristophanes' Frogs, the character of Euripides asserts that a poet should

be admired for "superlative artistry, craftsmanship, and the skill of a talented teacher to

make men better by counsel sage" (1009).3 Euripides meant for his tragedies to educate

the public, but his contemporaries criticized him, claiming that he failed in this respect

and turned sound, well-born citizens into poX6T1poTQTous men.4 They argue that

Euripides did so by giving equal importance in narrative to both servants and masters,

often employing the lesser characters as the voice of reason and source for proper

behavior. They especially condemn him for his selection of subject matter, stating that it

was improper to write about less than virtuous women or "whores like Phaedra or

Sthenoboea."5 It is through his divergence from the tragic norm that his plays become so

valuable to study.

The most striking variance in his tragedies in comparison with other tragedians lies

in his depiction of women. Aristophanes claimed that Euripides was a misogynist,

slandering women and characterizing them as deceitful, vengeful, and contriving.

Euripides, however, displays tremendous sympathy for women and the female

perspective, devoting entire plays to the fate of women in war-torn, conquered cities and

often creating speeches lamenting the throes of women.6 He also presents many

courageous, virtuous, and selfless women, such as Alcestis, Helen, and Iphigenia who



3 Trans. by Webb (1962) 400. Euripides even claims that his plays achieved this at lines 954, 957-958.

4 Arist. Frogs 1011.

5 Arist. Frogs 948-950, 1043. We can conjecture that the Phaedra refers to the first presentation of the
Hippolytus (Kaluptomenos).
6 Examples include the Hecuba, Electra, The Trojan Women, etc.









display the traits of an ideal woman. In addition to this, throughout his works Euripides

expresses an accurate awareness and firm grasp of the female psychology,7 and almost

always casts the "thinkers" of his plays as women.8 The difference in his portrayal of

women, however, appears in their divergent behavior from the typical standards of

feminine conduct. The question then remains as to why Euripides chooses to represent

his women with such unflattering myths if he is not the accused misogynist. On closer

examination one sees that these women who appear to display objectionable actions are,

in fact, not portrayed by Euripides as "wicked women." By analyzing the way in which

his stories depart from the traditional myth, one can gather his vision and attitudes toward

the female9 and, more specifically, one may observe that Euripides does not portray his

women as debased at all, but rather as human beings, subject to the experiences, whims,

and emotions of the entire race.10 They are presented without blame or condemnation,

but demonstrate what it is to be human when the passion overcomes the rational and

when, after the suffering and calamity, the only expression of humanity left is the

exchange of comfort and understanding. Euripides does not condone their reprobate

behavior or commend his audience to model them; instead, he presents mythological

characters as people recognizable to that audience.

Another question arises when discussing Euripides and his use of women, namely,

why it is even important to study the female characters. Greek tragedy uniquely gives its


7 See March (1990) 32-33, 64n4, and 64n7 for specific examples.

8Dodds (1973) 80.

9 This is the approach of March (1990) 32-75. This argument will be analyzed in further detail within the
body of the thesis.

10 In describing Euripides tragedies, Kitto (1978) 195 states it most accurately by saying: 'In the last
analysis Euripides' tragic hero is mankind.'









female characters what women were denied in real life-equal status with men. Zelenak

claims that the theatre, like the political arena, was an entirely male experience and that

there is no solid evidence to support the inclusion of women in theatre audiences.1 I am

not entirely sure I agree with this statement. As I mention in the subsequent chapter, the

evidence we have about females is found in the literature written by men whose

perceptions and views may not be wholly reflective of reality. In the same way that

scholars cannot assume too much based on the written record, they cannot, in the reverse

mistake, assume too little, as I believe that Zelenak does here. However, at this time,

women were often separated from the company of men and denied an education as well

as means to express their opinions. They were not allowed to hold office, vote, own

property, or even give testimony in court.12

The segregation in the Greek notions of gender ideology was not only reinforced

externally in everyday life, but also subtly in their words and speech. There was no basic

word for "woman" that corresponded to &avip, "man" in Classical Attic Greek.

Alternatively, yuvi', "wife," served this function. Ancient Greeks could not supply

precise terminology for words such as "unmarried" or "single woman" the way they

distinguished between different kinds of prostitutes (i.e.-FrahAaKis, rTaipa,Trr6pvTr).

Rather, women were defined according to sociological and political terminology,

identifying women as pi-Trp, 6uydT-rp, 68EAcp', Trap6cvos, yuv or vi'pqrn. All of



1 Zelenak (1998) 18. Refer to Pickard-Cambridge (1968) 264-265 for evidence for and against women's
presence in the theatre.
12 Zelenak (1998) 21. If a female's testimony was required, her male guardian would speak in her place.
Schaps (1977) 323 says that women were not permitted to plead in court. However, there were a variety of
reasons that they could be connected with a trial that required their presence, including rights of law
succession or the arousal of sympathy from the jury (see Aeschines 2.148, 152; Plato Apology 34c-35b;
Demosthenes 19.310, 21.99 and 186, 25.85, 54.35; Arist. Wasps 568-569, Plutus 380).









these terms labeled women with their roles in association with males, which reflect the

classical Greek conception of sexuality-the female is in opposition to the male.13

Females functioned the same way in Greek tragedy and particularly with

Euripides' characters. His women fulfilled their role as the opposing other to the male

character "[playing] the role of catalysts, agents, instruments, blockers, spoilers,

destroyers, and sometimes helpers or saviors for the male characters. When elaborately

represented, they may serve as antimodels as well as hidden models for the masculine

self..."14 In Euripides' tragedies we see that his women exist through some male

connection. However, the contrasting factor of Euripides' women to the Athenian female

was that he gave his women a voice. Whether their behavior was contemptible or they

acted as respectable figures, Euripides presented the lives of his characters through their

own lenses and allowed his audience a chance to view these women as representative of

their own. His women were perhaps not complete representations of reality, but an image

of how people and especially women could behave when placed within certain

circumstances. Why study Euripidean women? Because it tells us just as much about the

Classical Athenian female as it does about Euripides himself.

Finally, one must ask why it is important to study spaces and, more specifically, the

perceived boundaries of feminine space. In approaching this topic, one discovers that

there is not much contemporary scholarship about female space because not much is

known about it. Archaeological evidence identifies areas within the home indicative of

female space. However, the ancient literature does not provide completely accurate


13 Zelenak (1998) 17-21.
14 Zeitlin (1990) 68-69.










information to interpret these remains; the interior space of women was a mystery to men

because they were not a part of it.'5 Their perspective, though, is the surviving record we

have of the past. Therefore, by analyzing the ancient viewpoints (whether completely

reflective of reality or not), we have the best source for gaining insight on the lives and

spaces of Athenian women. Euripides is one of the surviving voices of the ancients, and,

therefore, his view on feminine space can add to our knowledge of women and their

space.

The main reason to study feminine space lies in the fact that the ancient Athenian

female was identified and connected with her place within the home. If one is to study

females, it naturally follows that he/she must analyze their spaces as well, because much

of their life was centered around and within the oikos. Zeitlin notes the relational aspect

between boundaries of inside and out for women saying,

The house, as we know, is primarily the proper domain of the woman, to which the social
rules of the culture assign her, while its men go forth into the outside world to pursue
manly accomplishments in war and politics.16


Athenian males appear to relegate females to the home and claim that this is the

ideal place for women. However, one must ask why this is so. They claim that the home

is the woman's workplace, place of safety, and place of respect.7 However, it may not

be because men believe that the home is best suited for females, but rather because the



15 Zeitlin (1990) 355, 357. The inside space of women is often presented as a place of plots against men.
Montiglio (2000) 256 reinforces this very idea stating, "Within a society, that of democratic Athens, in
which silent seclusion is the condition imposed on women in real life, it is not surprising that women are
the experts at conniving silences also on the stage. By representing women who act through secret
networks, the tragedians point to the dangers that supposedly lurk behind women's confinement and
exclusion from the spheres of public speech." Rf. Athenaios 13.6ff. for anti-feminine views.

16 Zeitlin (1996) 349, 354.

1 I will offer further analysis on ancient feminine space in the following chapter.









public outside will not accept them. This is exactly what we see in analyzing Euripides'

plays. The moment his women "step outside the palace" they act in ways contrary to the

expected behaviors of females. Only when these women assume male behaviors can they

accomplish anything in the public realm of men.

In analyzing Euripides' use of space, one must first determine how he defines

feminine space, and then identify how his women behave within (and without) this space.

In doing so, one may gain some understanding of Euripides' perspective on women and

quite possibly learn more about the Athenian woman from the realist himself.















CHAPTER 2
FEMININE SPACE

"Your renown will be great ifyou do not behave in an inferior way to that natural ofyour
sex, and your glory will be to be least mentioned amongst men concerning either your
virtue or your faults. "
-Thucydides 11.45.2
The roles and space of women in ancient Greece are difficult to determine when

one realizes that he/she is studying a group that was extolled for being little mentioned.

Modem day scholars, in an attempt to piece together what knowledge they can gather

from this "silent" group, mainly possess literary evidence that was written almost entirely

by the opposing gender. The problem is situated in determining how much of reality is

reflected in the ideology of how women should live and act according to the perceptions

and views of the dominant and lasting voices of men.

Archaeological finds provide us with clear and unbiased evidence in determining

the role of women and their place within the home.1 The oikos served as the basis of the

framework of ancient Greek society.2 In this complex hierarchy of relationships stood

the male head and underneath him the nuclear family, followed by the entire economic

unit-slaves, property, and land. It was this domestic space to which females of classical

Athens were often confined. Ancient authors state that particular areas within the home,





1 The interpretations of these findings may be biased-as are all interpretations-but the importance of
these remains is that it provides us with artifacts from the past available for any analysis.
2 For the varying definitions of the oikos and its place in Athenian Law, see MacDowell (1989) 10-21.
Here and throughout, I refer to the oikos as the family as well as the house, itself.










known as the gynaikon or gynaikonitis, were the women's quarters3 set aside for domestic

functions such as weaving, cooking, and storage.4 Examination of homes excavated in

Athens identifies areas such as these used as 'workrooms' that contained hearths and

loom-weights. Greek literature identifies and associates these types of spaces with

women (Hesiod, Works and Days, 520ff; Homer, Iliad, 22, 440; Aeschylus, Agamemnon,

95). Not only do these surviving remains indicate rooms employed for female duties,

these domestic spaces also demonstrate a separation between areas for men and women.

The andron was set apart from the women's quarters with no access between and each

apartment had its own entrance. This archaeological evidence seems to demonstrate that

the separation of male and female space was proper and practiced in ancient Athens.5





*'I F C1'^!'H^ ^M* __*-.._* -,,* -- -









Left: House on the North Slope of the Areopagus Right: Dema House at Ano Liossia
Figure 1: Divisions of Space in Classical Homes. Female spaces marked +; male spaces
shaded. Entrances to houses from the street marked with arrows.




3 References include Demosthenes 37.45-46, Xenophon's Oeconomicus 9.5, and Lysias 1.9-10, in which
one of the major points in Euphiletos' argument (-ET ydp KC(' TaUO' Opiv 8il|yroao6ai) is the location of
the women's quarters.

4 Morris (1999) 306.

5 For more on the archaeological evidence of the division of space between males and females within the
home, see Walker (1983) 81-91. Figures taken from Walker (1983) 87.









Nevett's work on this subject, however, claims that there was no strict division of

spaces, but rather varying degrees of male areas. Namely, she claims that any public area

was associated with male space while all other spaces (that excluded outsiders) were

appropriate for women, into which some men were permitted to enter.6 This view

provides a separation between public and private spheres and places women within the

remote areas beyond the reach and eyes of most men. This interpretation also reinforces

the belief that the female space is hidden, secret, and interior and only approachable via

male space and male control-the kyrios who guards the door. If one were to cross over

the threshold of female space without permission, he/she would be committing an act of

hybris7 or perhaps even moicheia as they would be accused of entering with the intention

to seduce the women of the house.

Morris' article traces the evolution of the Greek home and its transitions from early

Archaic to Classical structures. Before 750 B.C. domestic spaces were single rooms of

oval or apsidal shape.









0 3 6 fAe
S I 2 meters

Figure 2: Plan and Reconstruction of an Oval House, Smyrna. 10th century BC.8


6Nevett 1994, 1995, 1999.

SDemosthenes 18.132 and Lysias 1.4, 25, 36 are very clear in expressing this point of view.

8 Figure taken from Pedley (2002) 111.









However, the late eighth-century brought about a shift in shape to rectilinear

houses. These structures were still single-roomed or contained one main area and a small

porch, but by 700 B.C. houses with courtyards began to appear. Courtyard homes

became standard in classical Greece by 600 B.C. In analyzing this shift in structures,

Morris does not divide the home into gendered spaces, but suggests that the ideas about

divisions of space between the sexes and the physical divisions of homes reflect the

literature of Hesiod and the classical authors and their view of the seclusion of women to

interior spaces. 9 Whatever the interpretations of the archaeological remnants, there was

clearly a division of male and female space within the home and certain areas that women

possessed.





















Although ancient literature may provide a partial and idealized perception of the

woman's place within the home, it supplies us with the views, expectations, and mindset

9 Hesiod and many classical authors connect space with gender and inner areas with females (e.g. Hesiod,
Op. 519-525). For his specific argument, see Morris (1999) 305-317.
10 Figures taken from Morris (1999) 317.










that the Athenians held whether or not it was completely true to reality. We see that the

architectural remains display spatial divisions within the home, but why did these

demarcations of space come about? And why was it that the woman's place was

relegated to the home? In Xenophon's Oeconomicus, Ischomachos teaches his young

wife her responsibilities saying,

7.35 'Your duty will be to remain indoors and send out those servants whose work is
outside, and superintend those who are to work indoors, and to receive the incoming,
7.36 and distribute so much of them as must be spent, and watch over so much as is to be
kept in store, and take care that the sum laid by for a year be not spent in a month. And
when wool is brought to you, you must see that cloaks are made for those that want them.
You must see too that the dry corn is in good condition for making food.'1

The pseudo-Aristotelian Oikonomikos echoes similar sentiments about the

woman's expected place stating, "the gods have made one gender (the women) fit only

for a 'seated' way of life but too weak for activities out of doors, while the other gender

(the men) were less suited for domestic work but strong enough for labour that required

motion" (Oik. 1.1344a 3-6).12 Socrates in a conversation with his friend, Aristarchos,

promotes the labor and domestic skills of Aristarchos' female relations to start a home

industry in order to sustain his and their livelihood (Xenophon's Memoribilia II.7.2-14).13

Much of the ancient literature attributes the demarcation of space to the division of labor

between the sexes.14 The Greeks recognized a difference in roles for each gender and





11 Trans. by Marchant (1923), my italics. See also sections 10.10-13 for additional tasks the wife was
expected to undertake.

12 Translation by Scheidel (1995) 205. See also Arist. Pol. 1254b 13ff.

13 For the autonomy and self-contained nature of the woman's sphere see Shaw (1975) 256; Powell (1988)
341-350, 359; Just (1989) 114-118, 151-152, 164; Cohen (1991) 159-162; Pomeroy (1994) 58-61; Cox
(1998) 130-131.

14 For example, Hierocles, in Stob. Flor. 3.696f. (ed. Hense).










associated the space that each possessed with the duties each performed in these areas.1

The women, therefore, were often situated within the private sphere of the interior, while

men possessed the public sphere.

Not only were women seemingly restricted to the home because of their domestic

duties, but also because it served as a means of protection. With Pericles' Citizen Laws

of 451-450, Athenian citizen status and the legitimacy of heirs were often called into

question. One of the greatest roles a woman held was to produce offspring.16

Apollodorus, in his speech against Neaera, reinforces this view by claiming that a wife's

job was "for the procreation of legitimate children and to be faithful guardians of the

household" (Dem. 59.122).17 The entire prosecution of Neaera was intended to slander

Stephanus by challenging the citizenship of his children, whether they belong to

Stephanus' former wife, an Athenian citizen, or Neaera, the metic.18 Adultery also

disputed the paternity of offspring. Therefore, women were confined to the oikos to

ensure they did not violate their marriage vows or that they, themselves, were not

violated.19 This need for supervision kept women under the guardianship and protection

of their male figure. In Aristarchus' conversation with Socrates, Aristarchus gave an

analogy in which he, as the male guardian, served as the "watchdog" who protected the


15 TEI KCat OiKOVOPlCa ETEpa Cxv pb6 KCal yUVCatK65- TOI bPV y&p KTOOC I T1S bE q)UXdTTEIV Epyov
OTriv (Arist. Pol. 1277b 24ff).
16 Solon's laws (20.2) enforce this very idea.

17 Trans. by Pomeroy (1994) 115.

18 For more on the trial of Neaera, see Kapparis (1999).

19 Cohen (1989) 3-15 argues that there was a separation of space between males and females, but that this
division did not necessarily translate to seclusion or isolation. His article focuses on the conflict in
scholarship between reality and ideology. See also Richter (1971) 1-8. For the purposes of this paper,
however, I mainly analyze the perceptions of the ancients and their association of females mainly to the
home.









"sheep" (the women) so that they could live and work in safety and so that no harm

would come to them (Xen. Mem 2.7.14). In Lysias I On the Murder ofEratosthenes, the

defendant, Euphiletos, remarks that he watched over his wife as much as possible and

kept an eye on her as was reasonable, but it was when his wife attended his mother's

funeral (in the view of the public) that she was seduced by Eratosthenes (Lysias 1.6-8).

Funerals, sacrifices (Aristophanes, Ach. 253), and religious festivals (e.g. the

Thesmophoria, Isaeus 8.19-20; 3.80; 6.49) were occasions in which women stepped

outside of the home.20 These excursions out of doors, as Euphiletos' argument

exemplifies, made women susceptible to seduction and ruin. The best solution, therefore,

would be to limit females to the inner spaces of the oikos.

Women were also expected to stay within the home because it was those women

who had a sense of propriety who remained isolated from public view. In Plato's Laws,

the Athenian claims that women were accustomed to living a private life and would do

anything rather than be exposed to public view (781c). The speaker of Lysias 3.6

declares that his female relatives were so proper and concerned for their modesty that

they were even embarrassed to be seen by their male relations. Respectable women were

those who stayed at home and carried out their domestic duties.21 As Pericles stated, the

woman's greatest glory was to be silent and subdued (Thuc. II.45.2).22 The seclusion and

anonymity of women was also practiced in the law courts. Orators purposefully avoided

naming living respectable women in order to keep from casting a slur on their names.


20 For a more inclusive list of activities which took women outside of the home, see Cohen (1989) 8.

21 For further examples see Demosthenes 47, Isaeus 3.13-14, Lysias 1.22-23.

22 The poet Hipponax of Ephesos even said that a woman's two best days were when someone married her
and when he carried out her dead body (Hipponax 68).










Instead, these women would be identified through their male relations using kinship

terms. Schaps notes that the orator Mantitheus uses "six men and one deme to identify a

single woman", all without naming the woman herself (Dem. 40.6).23 Only those women

who were disreputable, of the opposing council, or dead would be named. Otherwise,

naming a female would be considered a slander upon an honorable and proper woman.24

Examples such as these illustrate that a woman's place and propriety lay in her

associations with her male figures and in being little seen and heard.

Although much of ancient literature expresses these ideals for the place a woman

was expected to occupy, the reality was that women were never completely secluded in

the home. The wealthy were the only ones who could possibly maintain such standards.25

In the Politics, Aristotle claims that in a democratic system, it is impossible to restrict a

poor woman from going out to work (1300a, 1323a).26 Not only did women exit their

homes for economic activities,27 but they also performed menial labors out of doors, such

as washing clothes and fetching water, in addition to visiting their friends and

neighbors.28 Even though these expectations of isolation for women were not completely





23 Schaps (1977) 326.

24 There were, of course, some exceptions to this. For the complete analysis of the naming of women, see
Schaps (1977) 323-330.

25 Sheidel (1995) 204.

26 Cohen (1989) 8.

27 Women would work in the fields (Aristophanes, Peace 535; Demosthenes 57.45) or even sell items in the
marketplace (Aristophanes, Ach. 478, Wasps 497, 1380-1385; Lys. 445; Thes. 405-440; Demosthenes
57.30-31, 34)

28 Many black-figure vases depict women at a public fountain house, one place in which they could meet
one another and converse. Fantham et al. (1994) 106-109.










observed in real life, nevertheless, these ideals were part of every Athenian male's

perception.


Figure 4: Water-jar (ca. 520 B.C.) from Athens, depicting women at a fountain house.29


29 Figure taken from Fantham et al. (1994) 108.









In the context of Euripides' plays, these principles were inherent in the audience's

mentality. The moment Euripides' women stepped outside of their homes, it was

indicative that something was wrong within the oikos.30 Euripides recognized the

prevailing perceptions of space and women's roles within these spaces and he

undoubtedly played with the audience's conceptions in his retelling of the mythical

stories. There was a reason why Alcestis was considered the epitome of the perfect

woman. We see in her actions that she was willing to sacrifice her life for that of her

husband's, claiming that she did not wish to live a life without Admetus or to leave her

children fatherless (287ff) because she knew that her very existence was dependent on

some male figure.31 Euripides' noble characterization of Alcestis is not only seen in her

behaviors but is also expressed in her spacing. Even in this, she upholds the ideals of a

perfect wife. The prologue places her KQT' OTKouS (19), nearly at the point of death.

However, when she does exit the palace, she is accompanied by her husband

(i8oi0 i8oV,/ dS' K 86Pcov 8i KQl rr6IOaS TropEuETat, 233-234). She is then afforded

one of the most unique tragic deaths where, unlike any other woman, she actually dies on

stage.32 Later on when Herakles returns Alcestis to Admetus, she is veiled and silent, and

therefore out of public view and sound. Slater interprets Alcestis' reunion with Admetus

and re-submersion into silence as "the glory of the Athenian wife",33 which resonates her

status as the epitome of the best wife.


3o Padel (1983) 15.

31 If Admetus were to die, Alcestis, as an heiress, would have been expected to remarry. See the Gortyn
Law Code (col. III.17-30, VI.15-VIII.50) and Plutarch Solon 20.2-23.2. Slater (2000) 107 says that
Alcestis dies for Admetus, her children, AND the household, because these are inseparable.
32 For the ways in which to kill a woman in Greek tragedy, see Loraux (1987) 9-39.

3 Slater (2000) 115.









Euripides takes the audience's perceptions of feminine space and represents his

female characters within these lines of thought. The following chapters provide an

analysis of some of Euripides' most striking female characters and the interplay between

their space and their behavior. Euripides takes these mythic women and does the most

despicable thing-he brings them outside of the palace. In the narratives of these women

we see their struggle in deciding between living out their circumstances in the expected

passivity of the female or taking action against their misfortunes. Euripides uses their

spatial connections, roles, and male figures to influence their behaviors. In examining

Euripides' plays with the Athenian ideals of female seclusion in mind, one will discover a

deeper meaning to his plays and gain a greater understanding of them.















CHAPTER 3
MEDEA

From the very start of the play we see that Medea does not fall into the category

of the typical female. The prologue introduces us to her as the woman who fell in love

with Jason and carried out great and terrible deeds for him on account of that passion (8-

10). Immediately we, along with the ancient audience, recall the myths of Medea and

how she aided Jason in obtaining the golden fleece and sailed away with him to Iolcus.

Perhaps we would also remember the version where she killed her brother, Apsyrtus, and

scattered his remains in the Black Sea and how she deceived Pelias' daughters to kill

their own father. Even if we did not, Euripides reminds us of these very tales.1

Undoubtedly, the audience knew Medea's stories before Euripides even presented his

version for the stage, and we can be certain that they had her myths in mind as they were

watching this play.2

But what is it about Medea that makes her such an extraordinary female? One

could say that she was the sorceress who fell in love with a would-be hero and betrayed

her father and homeland for him, but it extends even further than this. In choosing Jason

Medea rejected her father's authority and male presence and abandoned her home in

Colchis. Even before we encounter her on Euripides' stage Medea has already, in


1 Euripides rouses our memory of these myths in the prologue by the very mention of Pelias' name (3) and
by recounting his murder by his daughters' hands (oi0' &v KTGEivE T-rEioaoc TT-EAld~a Kopa5 TraTTpa,
9). He also speaks Medea's past actions through her own voice when she laments the fact that she killed
her own brother for Jason (167) and repeats the story of Pelias' death at lines 486-487 and 503-505.
2 For the complete lineage of Medea's mythological story see Figure 6 at end of chapter.









essence, "stepped outside the palace" and begun to act on her own behalf. The first

evidence of this adoption of male roles is recalled in the marriage oath she made with

Jason, which she refers to at lines 161 (PEydCotls pKOtLS vSrioaaEva TOV

KaTdpaTov Trrdotv) and 495 (oiK EuopKOS cbv). Although Euripides never explicitly

mentions the substance of the agreement they made with one another, we can confer from

this pact that it was some exchange of favors-namely, her assistance in acquiring the

golden fleece for his hand in marriage.3 A Greek betrothal was never accomplished

between man and woman, but rather father-in-law and groom.4 Here, however, we see

that Medea is the one who binds herself to Jason and acts in her father's stead in

completing the marriage. What is more, her oath compels her to carry out Jason's actions

as well. She, as she so eagerly reminds him (475ff. and 515), saved his life (acoad a'),

killing the dragon that guarded the Golden Fleece and providing him a means for escape.

Once again she assumes a male role in acting as Jason's "savior." Her manly behaviors

do not stop there, however. Once in Iolcus she serves as the conqueror of Jason's

enemies, beguiling the daughters of Pelias to cut up their father in the hopes of returning

him to his youth.

In every instance above it appears (and Medea also claims) that she acts on Jason's

behalf, but the truth of the matter is that she also acts on her behalf. All of her actions

reflect the absence of a male figure and a search for a space or home in which to exist as

a traditional female. Because she rejected her father, she in turn makes a marriage oath to

replace her lost male figure with Jason. Her destruction of Pelias was to furnish Jason


3 For more information on the significance of the hand-clasp see Flory (1978) 70.

4 This marriage, therefore, is not legally valid. For more on Greek betrothals see Harrison (1968) 1-59.









with a kingdom in Iolchus (and, in essence, a home for herself). This action only resulted

in their banishment/flight from the land and, consequently, resulted in their current

residency in Corinth. At the start of Euripides' play, it is here in Corinth that we find

Medea, once again without a male figure. We are told that her husband, Jason, has

deserted her and the children and has broken their marriage vows by taking another wife.

We hear that she sits inside the house suffering (24, 135, 180) as the classic female

passive victim starving herself in her misery.

This seclusion, however, does not last long and Medea emerges on stage lamenting

the lot of a woman's life in a dramatic first entrance. "We have waited in suspense,

learned of Medea's passive suffering at second hand and from her own cries of anguish;

and now, it seems, that helpless passivity ends and the resulting action... is set afoot."5

At her first entrance out of doors, we immediately see in Medea's speech that she does

not hold the values of the traditional Greek woman. Her point of view is slightly skewed.

She claims that she comes outside to the women of Corinth so that they do not think ill of

her because she believes that those who live quietly get a bad reputation (214ff.). This is

absolutely contradictory to the view of a good Greek woman who remains indoors

confined to her woman's quarters doing her female tasks, and instead runs more so along

the lines of the male way of thinking.6 In other words, for a male there is no glory in

sustaining a quiet life indoors. She even reinforces this view by complaining how

unfortunate women are because they must remain at home while a man is free to go out

of doors (245). Instead she is at home bemoaning the fact that she is deserted without a


5 Reckford (1968) 333.
6 "It is more shameful for the man [of a married couple] to stay indoors than to busy himself with outdoor
affairs." Xenophon Oeconomicus 8.










country, a family, friends, or a husband. She has nothing left except her home and her

children.

At this point in the play Creon enters to announce that he is depriving her of her

home as well. This banishment devastates her existence, for Medea is yet again without a

male figure and a space, but this time not by choice. Not only is she a wife abandoned,

but now she is also an exile, which she mentions over and over again throughout the play

thereafter.7 Previous to Creon's entrance Medea was distraught and suffering in misery,

but she was inactive within the house. It is not until she loses both her male figure and

her space that Medea decides to take action against her enemies-Jason, Glauke,8 and

Creon. She supplicates Creon to allow her to remain one last day in Corinth in order to

prepare for her exile. Her speech is entirely calculated, first attempting to assuage his

fears and convince him that she is not as clever and vindictive as some would have him

believe. When that does not allay his fears, she supplicates him; submits to the exile; and

then begs him for time, playing on his role as a father to invoke his pity. Creon-out of

compassion, against his better judgment, and in his naivety of Medea's capability to

act-grants her one final day, a concession which results in his undoing.

As the tragedy progresses we discover that this is not simply a play about

transformation or a reversal of roles. Although Medea does seem to just sit passively one


7 Medea mentions that she is an exile twenty times at the following lines: 275, 338, 341, 346, 353, 372,
400, 436, 449, 454, 458, 459, 511, 603, 606, 706, 713, 881, 938, and 1023. Before Creon orders her to
leave the land she only refers to herself as "desolate" or "helpless" (Eprlpos, 255). It is interesting to note
that Kovacs (1994) translates this adjective as "without relatives", which indicates the dependence a
woman has on her family or male protection.

8 Note that not once is Glauke mentioned by name. As is common for Greek women, she is referred to by
her roles in relation to a man, i.e. KpQovTro -rrai6a (19), vircpav (164), etc. (262, 283, 288, 309, 366,
375,554, 556, 623,694, 783,785,788, 885, 888,942, 945, 952-953, 957, 962, 967, 970, 978, 994, 1001,
1003, 1064-1066, 1125, 1137, 1144, 1179, 1207, 1210, 1220, 1233, 1348, and 1394.) See Schaps (1977)
323-330.









day and then the next decide to avenge herself against her enemies (and in so doing act as

a man), her actions are more a continuation of past behavior. The play is afortiori a

comparison of Medea's "masculinity" or assumption of male roles set up against a

backdrop of men who parade before her throughout the play. The initial parts of the

tragedy and Medea's myths demonstrate that she associates herself with and is dependent

upon a male figure, but more than this, she becomes her own male figure. The moment

she rejects her father and binds herself to Jason, Medea acts the part of a hero and,

perhaps, deserves the title just as much as Jason. She helped him achieve his glory and

renown-the very reason that Creon believed Jason to be a good match for his daughter.

Even in her destruction of Pelias, Medea was providing Jason with a home.

Medea's prevailing role in their relationship is evident in her first conversation with

Jason in which she dominates the speech with her abusive language and reasoning.9

Medea is very much the male figure and the hero and as such she relishes this role. Her

words display this mindset. She does not criticize Jason for his lust or adultery, but for

his cowardice (avav8pfav, 466). Then she goes on to remind him of the fact that she

was the one who rescued him. Not only that, she claims that the Greeks themselves know

of her deeds (476), and so she is the one who achieves the renown. She describes her acts

in full detail, but then states that Jason's only deed was to desert her and his children in

order to bed another woman. She emasculates him even further my claiming that he is

the one who held her hand in supplication, clasping her knees for favor (496-497).

Her heroic mindset is also evident in the fact that much of her motivation to carry

out her revenge was so that she would not be the object of her enemies' laughter.

9 For views on Medea's commanding speech see McClure (1999) 373-376. She identifies Medea's
language as legalistic and also a "transgression of normative gender roles."









McClure labels this as a "potential source of shame and fear... Like a hero she wishes to

appear formidable and invincible rather than vulnerable in the face of her opponents." 10

Medea says that she would not have anyone think her qpair'lv K&aoEVfi P-rT'

ilouXaCav11 (808). In addition to this, her behaviors reflect the heroic code when she

states that she would rather be seen as one who does damage to her enemies, helps her

friends, and achieves great fame (809-810).12

Medea is the hero, but she is also a woman. Therefore, all of her actions

throughout the play are placed in contrast to every male that comes before her. Euripides

emphasizes repeatedly Medea's cleverness and the belief that a clever woman is

dangerous13 in complete antithesis to Creon who is represented as a fool (371).14 Creon

is supposed to be the powerful male ruler and Medea the weak female victim, but he is

the one who yields to her in compassion while she manipulates him for vengeance. As

noted before, when Medea interacts with Jason, she dominates him in speech and asserts

her power through her abusive language and Jason is left giving illogical and

unreasonable answers for his behavior. With Aegeus, Medea may seem to act as a

dependent for a place of refuge, but she in fact is the one who has the power to help cure



10 McClure (1999) 381. Medea mentions this fear of ridicule repeatedly at 383, 398, 404-405, 797, 1049-
1050, 1354-1355, and 1362.

11 It is interesting to note that Warner (1955) translates this as "a stay-at-home", reinforcing Medea's earlier
speech and view that one who remains at home achieves no glory, which she believes is comparable to
being common and weak.

12 For more on Medea's heroic traits and Medea as a hero see Barlow (1989) 161-164.

13 This occurs at lines 285, 293, 295, 303, 320, 407, 539, 545, and 913.

14 Medea even emphasizes his foolishness in saying, "6 8' TO TooIOTOV pIopias #cpiKETO" (371).
Musurillo (1966) 55 describes the situation thus, "Creon is completely taken in by Medea's attractive and
specious friendliness; his mistake is to think he can give Medea a day of grace without regretting it."









Aegeus who is helpless in his need for an offspring. She uses her power of persuasive

speech once again and with an oath obligates Aegeus to serve as her protector. This

democratic political alliance creates an unusual displacement of the hierarchical structure

between man and woman, much less a ruler of Athens, such as Aegeus is.

Medea is without a doubt an actor/aggressor/agent and would never allow herself to

be a victim. Her behaviors consistently reiterate this view and are displayed before each

male figure. In her interaction with Creon, Medea's speech emphasizes this very fact,

and she also says outright that the only reason she would "fawn on" (6coTrEGoat, 368)

him was in order to achieve some benefit. After he departs we discover that her profit

will produce the destruction of three. With Jason, Medea's discourse proves herself the

better speaker, but it is not until her second encounter with Jason that we see the depth of

her artfulness. Not only does she convince him that she believed that her previous

behavior was foolish, she also uses her own children as the instruments of her murderous

plot. Her behavior was so convincing, Jason ends up praising her as a ocCOppova wife

(913) and approves of her speech.15

Her oath with Aegeus provides her a place of sanctuary for her exile and even

allows her a solution to carry out her vengeance. Buttrey provides an excellent

breakdown of the play in which he notes the chiastic arrangement of the scenes of the

play and claims that Aegeus' scene is the fulcrum on which the narrative hinges.16

Aegeus' presence is so important to the narrative because he provides Medea with a

refuge, a "space", to which to escape. The one thing she lacked was a space, which is

15 For the reversal and convincing nature of Medea's argument, see McClure (1999) 391.

16 Buttrey (1958) 6 argues that the order of the appearance of men creates an increase in passion until
Aegeus appears and then creates a change in tone for the play. At this point her vengeance begins.









clearly essential to her existence. She tells the Chorus that her lament about the woes of

being a woman does not apply to them because they have a city, a home, etc.

(ao't piv -F6oAl 6' ri' EoTl KQ T-rTpob 86pot/ (3iou T' ivrloVT Kai q(icov

ouvouoaa, 253-254). They agree with her when they ask what house or land (again a

space) will protect her from misfortune (359-360). Her method of escape was never

uncertain, but her space was.17 Once the issue of a haven is resolved, so are her plans for

murder. Through her oath with Aegeus, she has created a space. As Medea proves, she

may attempt to become her own male figure and carry out her vengeance against her

enemies, but no matter how much of the hero Medea may act, she is still a female

incapable of achieving her own space and fully becoming a male. Her attempts, though,

are gruesomely close. When the messenger comes to report the death of the princess, she

desires to hear his KdAArXOTov pg6ov, savors the details, and considers him a friend

(1127-1128). When the messenger's speech is over, she declares her final male task.

Noteworthy is the fact that Medea's lamentation of being an exile disappears the

moment that she hears of the death of Glauke and Creon. I have already established that

Medea is an agent of her life. She acts; she controls; she decides. Jason may have

stripped away her role as wife and Creon may have taken away her home, but none of

these situations occurred because she chose them. However, Medea reverses her

situation the moment she decides to kill her enemies. Her exile now becomes a deliberate

choice (it may be to escape death, but it is still a choice). Her final act is the death of her

children. One of the most human and feminine elements of Medea is her vacillation in

murdering her children. She so desperately acts the part of the male, but she cannot


1 See Musurillo (1966) 58-59.









escape her femininity and womanly roles. The fact that she murders her children is not

her renunciation of her femininity and ascension to a divine status, but rather her

complete dissociation from Jason as her male figure. She states repeatedly that her

children remind her of Jason and curses them along with their father (112-114). They

serve as a source of pain and hate and are living reminders of her past relationship with

Jason.18 In her mind, she must leave her male figure and space by choice, and killing her

children is part of this choice. Her final act is a complete separation of all of her ties to

Jason. She has made the choice; she has executed it. Once again, she acts the part of the

male.

Clearly the theme of space is a large element of Medea's situation. The irony of

the tragedy, however, appears in this very component-the absence of space. All of the

staging of the Medea occurs in one place: before, within, or on top of Medea's house.

Yet, she is the only one who is without a space and a home. The play is centered around

a house that she no longer possesses. Every representative symbol of space has already

been stripped away from her and every behavior is in search of some space to call her

own. The irony extends even further when we realize that Medea, the woman, is the only

one who is successful in "protecting" her children. Every man in the play emphasizes the

fact that they act in order to protect, provide for, or produce offspring. Creon states

outright that the reason he banishes Medea is to safeguard his daughter (283), because he

fears that Medea will injure the princess (along with himself and Jason). Jason claims

that he comes to Medea in order to take care of his children in their exile (461ff.) and that

the reason he married Glauke was in the interests of the children (550)-to raise them


18 For Medea's attitude toward her children, see Buttrey (1958) 3.









worthily of his position (562) and to give them royal familial connections (595ff.). When

Jason returns the final time after he has discovered the death of his wife and Creon, he

rushes to Medea's house to save the lives of his children (pc:Ov S~ -raficov 'iA6ov

EKocYacYV (3iov, 1303). When he asks the Chorus if Medea intends to kill him as well

(1308), he does not realize the truth and accuracy of his words, for Medea has done this

very thing in killing their children. Aegeus' presence in the tragedy emphasizes the

importance of male offspring to continue the family line, because that is the very reason

that he went to Delphi and consequently met Medea. She is the one who is confined to a

house, and yet all of her actions and behaviors previous to, during, and following the play

are active and not passive, while the men who are free (245) and pass before her are the

ones who are sensitive and concerned for their offspring and are ineffective in protecting

them. In the end Medea states that she will kill her children lest they be slain by a hand

less friendly to them (238ff). This is her means of protection. Medea's escape scene at

the end of the play is not an elevation to divine status, but rather a reflection of the

paternal provision of her grandfather to grant her a means of safety. Helios and Medea

are able to do for their offspring what Creon could not do for Glauke and Jason could not

do for his sons.

Throughout the play Medea expresses regret at the fact that she betrayed her

homeland for Jason.19 She says that her mistake was in leaving her father's home

(iapdapTavov T66' vK E~EAPTrraVOV 6PouS TrraTpc'ouS, 800-801). She is

absolutely right. Jason says that he offered Medea a better life, recognition, and a place

among people who were civilized (535ff.) but what she truly needed was a man and a


19 These sentiments, expressed by Medea, occur at lines 166-167, 255ff., 328, 483, 502-503, and 800.









home. The moment she lost both of these essential things (not by choice) she, as a hero,

takes action in order to avenge herself. For a time with Jason Medea was a woman fit for

the home, but with the loss of her male figure and space, she becomes what she lacks and

acts as the agent of her own destiny. Medea "stepped outside of the palace" the moment

she left her father for Jason and her assumption of male roles thereafter was to regain a

place for herself. She is the only one in the play who is able to protect her children, but

does so also to give her enemy, Jason, the greatest pain (1398)-a loss of identity that she

experienced when he deserted her. Critics balk at the fact that Medea, who has carried

out such heinous crimes, has escaped unpunished. They speculate the reasons for which

Euripides chooses to end his play in this manner. I would suggest that Euripides does not

condone her behaviors but makes her escape a reflection of all her past behaviors-she is

continuing her search for a male figure with which to associate herself. She is an actor;

she is a hero; but she is also a woman.












ATTEMPT TO DETERMINE THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE MEDEA MYTH
(Courtesy Professor David C. Young)

First Source: Heslod Theoony.(8th cent. B.C.] Medea's name means "clever one,"
"contriver." In Hesiod she was abducted by Jason (son of Aeson) after he took the Golden
Fleece (on orders from his wicked uncle Pelias) from her father, Aeetes. (These motifs
remain rather unchanged.) On returning to Greece with Jason, she bore him a child.


700 BC.




550




500








450

431



300

200

100
BC.

0
A.D.
100


200


Figure 5: The progression of Medea's myth. Young (Hillsdale College Lecture, 1992).


L 1
'\ Naupm d:
Nosto: (Returs) Medea & J.'s son eaten
M. magicaly rejuvenates by a lion when they return
Aeson (by cutting himup?) to Greece

i s(Cf. 2
mid-6th cent vase. Eutmels Medeatriesto
Fake rejuveno~ r mnake children imrortal in
scheme by Medea to Hera's temple; Jason catches
kill Pelias (once his her; they die.
daughters have cut
him up, it won't make
him alNe) 3
Q- Cep Medealas
(Pinar) King Creon, fees, AeaMng
Pherecydes: M. children in temple Creon's
cuts up her brother, relatives kill them. b say
Absyrtus, tsses that Medea did
pieces overboard to
sow down her father's
men, who pursue her & J.
-1-
Eurwpides: Medea
k edher wndre
I
MYTH IN ART


Apoloiius&
manyothers

4
Parmenidsl
Corinthianskil
OMd Medea's children
I
Pausrius laow.
\' story where Corinthians
stone children to death
Continuous living traditions into YOU
modem literature. Thistadtin des

V


s


s
3
";














CHAPTER 4
HIPPOLYTUS

Although Euripides entitles his play, the Hippolytus, this work is as much about

Phaedra as it is Hippolytus. In his first construction of the Hippolytus (Kaluptomenos),

Euripides simply made Phaedra the seductress who served as Aphrodite's instrument of

revenge against Hippolytus. However, Phaedra's brazenness and complete impropriety

of behavior in contrast to a true Athenian woman were not well-received by the Athenian

audience. The changes Euripides makes to Phaedra, therefore, are extremely significant

to how he chooses to characterize her in the second Hippolytus (Stephanephoros). In his

transformation of the myth, he makes Phaedra a virtuous woman who vacillates between

maintaining her feminine seclusion and silence and stepping out into public view and

hearing. The audience members are observers of her struggle, watching her every move;

and though they may pity her situation, they fear that the moment she steps outside of the

palace, she will become the seductress of the previous play. In order to view the

outcome, however, the audience must witness all her behaviors and without a doubt,

Euripides uses the spatial associations to enhance and characterize his second Phaedra.

Before Phaedra appears on stage, her actions within her space and her behaviors

beyond the palace are described by Aphrodite. The goddess tells how Phaedra saw

Hippolytus at the Eleusinian Mysteries and was stricken by a terrible love for him (24-

28). Aphrodite remarks that Phaedra constructed her a temple along the rock of Pallas

that overlooks Troezen for her 'love over the seas'. Aphrodite's final description of

Phaedra places her in Troezen at the home of Pittheus where she now resides on account









of Theseus' exile from Athens. Every locale that Aphrodite identifies with Phaedra in the

prologue places the queen in an exterior space beyond her palace.

The Greek view of women marks them as particularly vulnerable to influences that

attack or penetrate.1 When they retire to the interior, the danger of persuasive forces

lessens. For it was when Phaedra left her home to take part in the mysteries of Demeter

that she became possessed by Aphrodite. She left her domestic realm to set up a temple

for this goddess, and more specifically, for Hippolytus (pcOs' ipco-' iKSrTiov, 32).2

Euripides emphasizes that even before Phaedra came to Troezen (rrpiv p Ov A6ETv

rTivSE yfiv Tporqvlvav, 29), her eyes, and to an even greater extent, her mind, were

turned toward Hippolytus and his city (KaT6otov, 30). Her departure from Athens takes

her away from her home, places her within the home of Pittheus, and gives her even

closer contact to Hippolytus. When Phaedra steps outside of her typical interior spaces,

whether compelled by Aphrodite, forced into exile with Theseus, or of her own accord,

she is associated with Hippolytus.

Immediately before Phaedra appears, the Chorus informs us that she keeps herself

EVTOS O'LKCOV (131-132) covering her golden hair with a veil.3 Inside she is able to


1 There are four types madness listed in Plato's Phaedros in which women frequently seem susceptible: the
manic, the Corybantic, the poetic, and the erotic. Phaedra's possession by Aphrodite is a prime example of
the erotic madness. See Padel (1983) 3-19 for more on female possession.

2 The manuscripts conflict between whether or not Phaedra loves a "foreign" love (9KrTqlov) or a
"conspicuous" love (Krl|AXov). Barrett (1964) 98, 160 reads 9Kr|qlov. I prefer this reading because
Phaedra's passion for Hippolytus is only evident to Aphrodite and the audience. Also, the exchange
between Hippolytus being 9KT|1POV for Theseus who, to Phaedra's undoing, becomes EKrlqTOV increases
the irony of the play, for it is the absence of Phaedra's male figure that brings about her actions.
Regardless of the readings, however, the point is still the same-Phaedra constructs a temple for Aphrodite
and associates it with Hippolytus.

3 Goff (1990) 5 labels this as a double seclusion that could either be interpreted as the appropriate behavior
of a modest woman or equally as a part of her sickness and refusal to speak. She claims that this behavior
is an effort to 'block' the influences on her.










maintain her chastity and conceal her secret love. However, when Phaedra is brought

outside, the audience discovers that she has been longing all the while to be outdoors

(181). Weak and frail Phaedra seeks the assistance of her servants to lift her up and let

loose her hair-a behavior in stark contrast to her modesty and veiling indoors.4 Once

outside she reveals her desire to roam the haunts of Artemis. In actuality, her speech

deepens her desire for association with Hippolytus. Her discourse echoes Hippolytus'

hymn to Artemis, recollecting the waters that Aidos uses to tend the "undefiled meadow"

(73ff). 5 In longing for Artemis' domain and the capacity to hunt, Phaedra goes beyond

just wishing to be in Hippolytus' realm; she also desires to take part in his pursuits and,

as his companion, be with him wherever he goes. She goes even further when she calls

out to Artemis and wishes to tame horses in her sanctuary. Not only does she long for

Hippolytus' space and companionship, she desires to be Hippolytus himself.6 When

Phaedra realizes the madness of her words, she becomes ashamed and covers herself up

(243-245). In effect, she attempts to physically shield herself from the reckless impulse

of a Scalov (241).




4 Goff (1990) 5 says that Phaedra frees her body and hair as a precursor to the 'loosening' of her speech in
her state of delerium.

5Segal (1965) 124 says, "Phaedra's longing for a drought of 'pure waters' (209) and for a 'grassy meadow'
(210) recall the pure waters of Hippolytus' aidos (78) and the 'untouched meadow' from which he brings
his offering (73-74). She longs too for the woodland (UAav, 215) and the hunting of wild beasts, and
desires to 'hurl the Thessalianjavelin holding the barbed missile in my hand' (220-222)." For more on the
concept of aidos in the Hippolytus see Cairns (1993) 1-474.

6 Hippolytus' name is evidently associated with horses. Phaedra's longing to tame horses echoes
Hippolytus' care of his horses (1241). For the significance of Hippolytus' name, see Fauth (1959) 428-430,
Segal (1965) 147n.48, 166, and Burkert (1979) 112-113. Zeitlin (1996) 225 makes the argument that
Hippolytus changes from being "one who binds (111, 1183) and loosens horses" to one who really is true to
his name, "one whose body is loosened by horses." Phaedra does not realize how accurate her desire to be
Hippolytus is, for in the same respect, Phaedra is one whose body and mind is destroyed by the horse-man,
Hippolytus.









Throughout the play Phaedra constantly wavers between her actions within her

interior space and that outside, between being eukleia and accomplishing her desires,

between death and life. The moment she is outside, the nurse says, she wishes to hurry

back inside (182). Her speech takes her to imaginary places out of doors, but when she

finishes her wanderings, she covers her head. Her space is crucial to her struggle because

it is what defines her roles and essentially her identity. Throughout the Hippolytus,

Phaedra's interior space links her to some specific role within it. When she is at the

temple, she is a worshipper of Aphrodite. At Athens, she is Theseus' wife and a mother.

When associated with Crete, she defines herself as the daughter of the king.' In Troezen,

however, the lines are blurred. This is because in every space previous, her role was

connected to some male figure, or even greater, a divinity. The difference Phaedra faces

in Troezen is that her male figure, Theseus, is iKSriPos8 while her desired male

connection, Hippolytus, is too close, yet too far. In the prologue, Phaedra is first

mentioned not by her name, but by her title EuyEVfiS 8apap (26)-a connection to both

her father and Theseus. Inside the palace at Troezen, her space confines her to her role as

mother and wife, but in relation to Hippolytus, she is also a step-mother and, in her mind,

potentially a mistress. When the Chorus conjectures about the reasons for Phaedra's

sickness, they supply a cause in every one of her interior roles: some divine spirit

possesses her, bad news is carried from her homeland of Crete, her husband has a secret

affair, and lastly, her sufferings come because she is pregnant with child. Every single

female duty and association she might hold is called into question. Their answers are


SLines 155, 337, 719, and 755.

8 This is emphasized on three separate occasions in the Hippolytus. Lines 37, 281, and 659.










correct but do not quite hit the mark. The true source of her sickness is a divine

possession-Aphrodite's. She does carry ill-fortune from Crete-her ancestral curse. A

secret affair does tear apart her marriage-her incestual desire for Hippolytus. And

finally, her duty as a mother grieves her-the exposure of her secret dooms her children

(306). Even though Theseus is absent, when Phaedra contains herself to the inside, her

roles and associations with Theseus remain intact. The moment she steps out of her

house, however, she links herself to Hippolytus and every role she possesses

disappears-she desires to be a huntress and a horse-tamer.

No one recognizes this dichotomy of space and male associations better than

Phaedra herself. When she comes to her senses after her feverish speech, she veils her

head wishing to die. Her veiling, in a sense, hides her from public view and links her to

interior spaces. Despite the nurse's constant questioning, she maintains that her role as a

mother is upheld and that she loves her children (315), that she is still an honored wife

and prays to continuously be so (321), and that her family relations, though hated and a

curse to her life, are ever present (337ff). Somewhere amidst the Nurse's supplication

and inquiries Phaedra unveils her head and leads the nurse to speak out Hippolytus'

name.9 When her secret is made known to the Nurse and the Chorus of Troezenian

women, Phaedra explains how she had tried to keep silent and had resolved to die rather


9Though the staging is not explicit as to when Phaedra unveils her head, it is clear that sometime after the
veiling of line 245 and before her soliloquy about adulteresses (373-where we can safely assume that she
does not make an entire speech with a covering on her head), Phaedra has stripped off her shroud. I believe
Phaedra does so at line 335 where she says that she will yield compelled by the Nurse's suppliant hand.
Her speech previous to this point pushes the Nurse away in an effort to maintain her silence. After she
surrenders to the Nurse's petitions, however, she no longer holds her silent posture, but speaks out freely
about her ancestral curse. The Nurse's supplication is key to the physical unveiling because it sets in
motion the spoken "unveiling" of Phaedra's secret. The Nurse clasps Phaedra's hands
([3tdlcrt, XEIP65 E~cpTCoPivfl; 325) and knees (KC'i ocov yE yovaTCov, 326) urging her to give in.
Phaedra finally does out of reverence for the Nurse's begging hand. Uncovering her head would be
Phaedra's gesture in submitting to this concession and ultimately leads to the revelation of her sickness.









than let her secret be known. She condemns those women who shame their marriage bed

with men other than their husband. The very word that she uses, 6upactou (409),

implies going outside the door and, as Barrett notes, refers to something that does not

belong to the oTKoS.10 Adulteresses are, in essence, those women who step outside of

their house to seek consummation of their pleasure. Although Phaedra denounces these

females, she does not realize to what extent she follows these very women when she steps

outside her house and professes her desires for Hippolytus.

Phaedra is not the only one who castigates women, the object of hate to all

(plirlc a -rrCaat, 407). When the Nurse reveals Phaedra's passion to Hippolytus, he

speaks out in a long tirade against women, calling them KLi35lrGa (616) and KQKdQ (616,

625, and 627), and suggesting there should be other means by which men might produce

offspring (619ff). With all of his insults, however, not once in his speech does he place a

woman outside of the boundaries of her home. Rabinowitz interprets Hippolytus' speech

as more than just madness and disgust toward the Nurse's proposition, but also as an

expression of "the cultural beliefs that define the ways in which the female threatens

social structures, and therefore define as well the place she is supposed to occupy

according to male desire.""1 Although Hippolytus goes to extremes by claiming that

bringing a woman into one's household is a source of ruin (616ff), for him it is

inconceivable that a woman should occupy any other space but the interior. Within a

span of less than fifty lines, he limits women exclusively to within the home. First he

wishes to dwell v S~ Scb'paotv free from the female sex (623), and then claims that


10 Barret (1964) 235.

11 Rabinowitz (1993) 157.









when a man marries, he takes a creature of ruin Els 5866ou (630). He goes even further

by saying that a foolish woman who sits KQT' OLKov is trouble (639) and hopes that there

may never be a clever woman ev y' polS 586ots (640). Finally, he closes by saying

that women should have voiceless beasts as their companions for it is the clever women

who plot evils EvSov while their servants carry them E'co (649). In Hippolytus' mind,

every association and role a woman plays-be it mother, wife, or daughter-is connected

to and contained within the household. Hippolytus condemns women in the home, but

never even conceives that they might come out and cause trouble.

Phaedra, however, has not and cannot restrain herself to the interior. Though she

constantly wavers in her decisions to remain inside or out, she knows that if she stays

within her house, she will continue to suffer without disgracing her family, but will die

without the honor she so desperately desires.12 The very reason she wishes to step

outside the palace is to allow her virtue to be known. The moment she does so, however,

she is doomed, for women were not praised for being recognized, but for being little

mentioned. Her situation is difficult because she desires recognition, but she wants it as a

man. When she exits the house, Phaedra slowly and unconsciously takes steps toward

revealing her secret love to Hippolytus. It begins with her fevered speech and proceeds

to a "confession" that is curbed by a resolution to die eukleia. She eventually succumbs

to the Nurse's suggestions to cure her sickness, whose solutions all come from within the

house. She tells Phaedra that she has a love potion KQT' O'iKOUS (509). She also uses the

house, whose ceiling beams are not perfectly constructed, to serve as an object lesson to

12 Grene (1955) 189 translates Phaedra's speech at line 403 as, "It would always be my choice to have my
virtues known and honored." For more on Phaedra's vascillation between speech and silence and sexuality
and shame see Rabinowitz (1993) 162.









Phaedra to persuade her to act on her passion13 (467-469), and ultimately retreats within

the house to reveal Phaedra's desire to Hippolytus (565ff.).14 But it is there at the

doorway of the palace, the liminal space between the interior and exterior, probity and

passion, that Phaedra makes her decision.15 She comes face to face with Hippolytus

without ever interacting with him16 in the neutral threshold of the palace, between

complete separation and consummation of her desires.17 After Hippolytus concludes his

denunciation of women, he says that he will go K 86pcov while Theseus is KSTrlniPg

X6ov6o (659) in order to prevent further interaction with Phaedra.

Phaedra, propelled by the mortification and shame she felt from Hippolytus'

speech, realizes that her movement into exterior spaces did not provide the cure she had

expected and so decides upon her final act. With the oath of secrecy obtained from the

Chorus, she enters the palace once again in an effort to protect her role as mother,

daughter, and chaste wife (715ff.). Every action previous to this has been to find a

solution to her sickness in both interior and exterior spaces. Her suffering within

excluded her from eukeleia in the presence of others. Her exit from the palace and virtue

in affliction gave her nobility before the Chorus, but also brought with it the revelation of

13 I take Goff (1990) 9 and Barrett's (1964) 224-225 interpretation that these lines indicate that a part of the
house that is unseen is not so well constructed and therefore represents an intentional act of concealment.

14 Their conversation spoken by Phaedra and the Chorus as EIV6v v 86ploto (566), 9ocoGEv (567),
v 86poti (576), and (p drt Bco&dTcov (579).

15 See Alcock (1995) 1-271 for the liminal area as a sacred space.

16 Smith (1960) 162-177 argues that Phaedra makes a series of entrances and exits and is not present when
Hippolytus gives his invective against women. I, however, agree with Avery (1968) 19-35 that this speech
is more compelling while Phaedra is present on stage, heightens her mortification, and spurs her to take
action. For a compelling argument for Phaedra's presence, see Hartigan (1991) 54n52.

17 This is the one of the key differences between Euripides' first and second Hippolytus. In the first
Hippolytus, Phaedra interacts with Hippolytus and acts as an outright seductress. See Reckford (1974)
307-328 for a reconstruction of the first play.









her desires to Hippolytus. Her final act, then, is a reflection of her solution both to the

interior and exterior. Her suicide is a return to her interior roles as daughter, mother, and

wife. She returns to her bedroom, marriage bed, and the very roof of her house to kill

herself in order to maintain her chastity as a wife, not shame her Cretan home, and

provide for her children. Goff says that her suicide is her complete containment to the

interior.18 On the other hand, Phaedra's suicide note is her absolute departure to the

exterior. The tablet serves as her entrance into the public realm of men where she was

never permitted19 and functions as a lasting voice to speak her testimony. The fact that

the letter is a lie merely propagates her exterior behavior as "evil".20 In the absence of a

male figure to plead her cause, Phaedra "steps outside of the palace" and takes on the

male role herself, defending her case before the only jury that has the power to inflict

punishment, Theseus.

When the Nurse tries desperately to persuade Phaedra to find a way to cure her

sickness, she offers the home as the source of her solutions. She does not realize the

extent to which Phaedra hears and follows her advice, but not the way in which she

intended. Phaedra does employ her house as the means of her salvation and destruction,

and it in turn is destroyed by her. From lines 804 to the very end of the play, every

instance that the Chorus or Theseus laments the situation, they mourn about how the

house is destroyed and never that Phaedra is dead.21 In the end even after the falsity of


18 Goff (1990) 7.

19 Rabinowitz (1993) 165.

20 For the body as writing, see duBois (1991) 69-74.

21 Phaedra's death is only mentioned twice, once by the Nurse at 779 and once by the Chorus at 788. On
the other hand, the destruction of the house is expressed ten separate times: 813, 819, 845, 847, 851, 861,
870-871, 901, 1341, and 1344.






40


Phaedra's letter and the shamefulness of her desires are revealed, she still maintains her

connection to the household and her roles within the interior.















CHAPTER 5
HECUBA

Euripides' Hecuba, as with all of his plays, is an intricately woven narrative that

possesses a variety of meanings, themes, and morals.1 Many modern day scholars

interpret the tragedy as the reshaping of Hecuba's character and the complete depiction of

her suffering,2 the moral evaluation of revenge,3 or the contrast between Polyxena's

virtuous action and Hecuba's monstrous vengeance.4 The purpose of this chapter,

however, is not to present a new interpretation, but rather to analyze how Euripides

manipulates the spacing of the play to add to its significance, to mark the divisions

between public and private spheres, and to display how Hecuba behaves within these

spaces. Undoubtedly one of the main themes within the Hecuba is the emphasis on

transformations and transitions. The play is the story of Hecuba's radical alteration of

actions in response to the circumstances she encounters. As Hartigan states, "the text is

not to be seen as a study of character. Greek drama, especially Euripidean drama, is




1 While some authors find fault with the play's lack of unity and the impression that it is composed of two
separate parts, others attempt to identify the unifying element that joins the halves together. Abrahamson
(1952) 120n1 gives a great bibliography for affirmative and opposing viewpoints and states that the
approach of viewing the play as two parts causes unnecessary difficulty which quickly disappears in light
of understanding of the play's essential meaning.

2 See Abrahamson (1952) 128-129. He claims that the tragedy of Hecuba is about her moral destruction:
"It is a story of a human being that is being broken and breaks."

3 See Meridor (1978) 34-35 who argues that the play is composed of Hecuba's sorrow and then her
consequent permissible and required revenge against Polymestor.

4 See Conacher (1961) 1-26 who says that the play is about Hecuba's absolute loss of moral identity and the
disparity of her behavior in comparison to that of her daughter Polyxena's.









always a study of individual response to difficult if not unbearable situations."' Although

the tragedy occurs strictly within the locus of the Chersonese, we get a full description of

Hecuba's existence past, present, and future. Therefore, the complete reversal of

Hecuba's behavior in her space-due to her loss of husband, home, and eventually

children-is a reflection of this significant transition from queen to slave to something

that is finally less than human.

Although we, the audience, never get a true picture of Hecuba's existence in Troy

before her enslavement, Euripides does provide glimpses of her past and uses these

images as a foundation in establishing the woman that once was in order to show her

progression to complete beast. We get the first view of Hecuba's former prosperity and

position when we meet Polydorus in the prologue where he identifies himself as the son

of Hecuba and Priam (3-4) and goes on to describe a time when Ilium flourished and he

was secretly conveyed to Thrace with provision and wealth. It was a time when yfis

6p6' EiKEL6'6pioapcaTa Trrpyot T' p6paucarot TpcLKfiS ioav X0ovo6 (16-17). Here,

Hecuba was mother, daughter, and wife.6 But then the affluence of Hecuba's home was

uprooted and destroyed (21-22), her sons killed (Hector, 21 and Polydorus, 25), and her

husband butchered (23). Throughout the play Hecuba refers to herself and is referred to

by what she once was-she came EK TupavvLKcV V 86pcov (55), being Trp606E 8'








5 Hartigan (1997) 41.
6 Within the span of two lines, Hecuba is identified by all of her roles in relation to each of her male
figures: Polydorus, Cisseus, and Priam (3-4).









avacoa (62, 492), and once was i6SE TTptdpou TOU pEy' 6A(3ou 56dpap (493)-in

contrast to what she is now--arats, avav8pos, &froAts (669).7

The most poignant marker of Troy's past glory, however, comes from the Chorus'

lament in the city's destruction and the recollection of their final night there (905-952).

As the Trojan women sing about the end of the evening's festivities, we enter the most

intimate of all places: the bride-chamber (v 6aAdpots, 919). The serene picture

portrays the woman primping herself before she joins her husband in bed-a simple

female task.8 The cries in the streets and the destruction of the city shatter this moment,

however, and send the woman out of doors, barely clothed (AXXT1 5S~ qpAia

Pov6OrETrXAo AX-Trouoa, Acop'i cbs Kopa, 933-934), seeking the sanctuary of Artemis

to provide the safety her husband (dead) cannot. The interior feminine space at Troy for

Hecuba and the Trojan women was a place of protection and prosperity. As soon as they

lose their male connection and step outside of these spaces, they must seek the sanctuary

of a higher power-a divinity-to defend them. But Artemis' altar does not save them.

Without the protection of a male and the safety of walls, they become subject to slavery.

In these images of Hecuba, Euripides provides an account of the roles she once

possessed. Once stripped of her home and her male connections she no longer occupies a

definite interior space. At the start of the play that we find that she is now in the

Chersonese on the shores of Thrace.9 This land is the liminal space between Hecuba's


7 Also referenced to in lines 56, 160, 494, 809ff, and 893. Note that most mention of Hecuba's loss follows
immediately after a statement of what she once had/was.

8 Zeitlin (1996) 190 in reference to this scene says, "This intimate glimpse into a woman's chamber with its
typical object, the mirror, is the sign of her private world (so often depicted in vase paintings)..."

9 Whether the action occurs here or at Troy is a source of some confusion in the text, which has been
observed by the scholiast ad 521. There is greater evidence for the setting to be along the shores of Thrace,










past life in Troy and expected future slavery in Greece. As noted before in Phaedra's

story, the liminal space is a dangerous area that can either force a woman to her place of

proper female space or propel her to "outside" behavior contrary to how a woman should

act. Segal identifies this setting as a "no-man's-land between Asia and Greece."10

Hecuba and the Trojan women are part of a Greek camp where they exist as outsiders and

slaves in a martial community. For the women, there is only a liminal space because they

do not have their city of Troy or belong to the camp of the Greeks. Their tents are

separate from the male public space, which is the open territory along the shore where the

men come together to conduct their business (98ff.). The further we follow the play the

more we discover not what the land possesses, but what it lacks. We never actually see

the Greek tents, the seashore, and Achilles' tomb, but we do hear of them. Here,

however, there exist no divine places as at Troy.11 Although the chorus exhorts Hecuba

to go to the temples and altars (144, 146-147), these are only supplications with no direct

consequences and where no specific action ever occurs.12 Not only is the land devoid of

divine sanctuaries, it is lacking in the divinities themselves. The prologue does not open

with a divinity, but a disembodied ghost; the Greeks are hindered from their voyage




first because the text itself indicates this (35) and second because it accentuates the proximity of
Polymestor and his appearance in the story. The argument that the setting is in Troy because Polyxena is
sacrificed at the tomb of Achilles is less convincing because we never actually see this any part of this
locale. Rather, the action that occurs there is relayed by a messenger.

10 Segal (1990a) 305. In addition, Segal (1990b) 109 points out that Polymestor's command is a "land"
(770-771) and not a city. The city is actually never acknowledged by anything else other than its name.
Instead it is represented as a "house". Zeitlin (1996) 173 suggests this same notion when she says,
"[Thrace] seems to have only one inhabitant a man, Polymestor, together with his children..."

1 Euripides mentions the altar where Priam was slain (23), the shrine of Artemis where the Trojan women
sought protection (290, 935) and a temple to Athena (1008).

12 See Zeitlin (1996) 174-175.










home not by a god, but by Achilles' shade demanding a sacrifice to his tomb;13 and the

close of the play imparts a prophesy, not from deity, but a mutilated king. The gods are

only present in the general mention of their names. 14 The land and the gods exist in

words, but never concretely.

In this in-between space, Hecuba attempts to continue her feminine roles.

However, she is now only a mother. She no longer has a husband or a city to be a wife

and queen. Though she lives among the Greeks as a slave to Agamemnon,15 she claims

that her city still lives on through her children (80, 281).16 When the Chorus reveals the

assembly's decision to sacrifice Polyxena to the ghost of Achilles, Hecuba behaves in the

only way she knows how-she assumes the customary female posture as suppliant in

order to gain sympathy and favor toward her requests.17 She beseeches the male figure,

Odysseus, who has the power to carry out action (294-295), and begs for the life of her

daughter. In her speech she asks for repayment for the favor she granted Odysseus when

she saved his life in Troy. She then furnishes alternative victims for sacrifice, naming


13 Polydorus appears in the prologue and gives this explanation for the presence of the Greek army along
the shores of Thrace, but whether or not this is completely accurate is called into question when we find out
that after Polyxena has been slain, the Greeks still have not received a favorable wind
(oi y~p 'f-r' oipious Trrvox; OE66, 900).

14 Zeitlin (1996) 172-216 provides a thorough analysis on the significance of Dionysus in both language
and action that occurs throughout the play and identifies the Hekabe as a typical Dionysiac plot. It is a play
where all roles and morality are thrown into deep confusion and women violate typical social behaviors.
The presence of Dionysus is clear in the background of the plot, but on the surface, none of the gods seem
to exist. See also Segal (1989) 9-29.

15 See Gregory (1992) 266-269 for Agamemnon as Hecuba's master.

16 Zeitlin (1996) 188 states, "Light is equivalent to child, and one depends upon the other. Without living
children, one may look at the light but yet no longer exist: to look at a dead child negates one's existence,
both present and future, for the child is often imagined as the light or eye of one's life and also of one's
house."

17 See Mercier (1993) 149-160 on Hecuba's supplication to Odysseus and also Gould (1973) 74-103 on
supplication in Greek literature.









oxen and even Helen, and finally ends by appealing to Nomos. However, it is Nomos that

has brought about the need for Polyxena's sacrifice in the first place for the dead require

honors (309, 316). Hecuba's petitions, as she so aptly put it, were pa'Tr-v (335) because

she is among those of no account (294). The content of her speech does not and cannot

persuade Odysseus. As a female slave, she has no power or position.18

Polyxena, however, does not need Hecuba to beg for her life, for the princess has

decided that she will willingly go to her death. Like Hecuba, Polyxena is also bereft of a

male figure and home, but although she is being led to her slaughter, she ironically does

not act the part of the female victim or plead for a male to speak on her behalf. In the

absence of a man, Polyxena chooses instead to assume male roles and, by refusing to

supplicate Odysseus and to live life as a slave, has chosen her death. As she is led away

she is veiled as a woman who obediently follows the male. The site of Achilles' tomb,

however, serves as a liminal space for Polyxena who stands on the threshold between life

and death. Here she acts as both male and female. In the role of a male, Polyxena does

not allow anyone to touch her to hold her down (548), but offers her body willingly to the

knife.19 More importantly, she addresses the assembly with a speech and unbelievably

bares her body for all to see. The female body, only acceptable for view in the privacy of

the home, is made public. Polyxena, however, is not condemned for this gesture because

in the eyes of the Greek army, she is not a female victim who must be held down and

slaughtered, but rather a hero. With the reversal of roles, there came about a reversal of

space-Achilles' tomb, a public area, brought Polyxena her honor. In her death she


18 Conacher (1961) 18.

19 See Zeitlin (1996) 199.









ceases to act the part of a man but falls gracefully, covering herself as a proper woman

should.20 In recognition of the honor of this maiden, the Greek soldiers "clothe" her body

with leaves and branches, and eventually she will be forever covered over in flames or a

grave.

Hecuba pleaded to Odysseus for Polyxena's life, but her daughter willingly chose

to face death. When Hecuba discovers the death of her son, Polydorus, once again, as a

suppliant, she petitions a male figure to act on her behalf. This time Agamemnon is the

recipient of her pleas, and once more she appeals to Nomos and begs for pity. When she

recognizes that her speech EOLKa -FpdfaEtv oi~Sv (813), she shifts her approach and

entreats the power of Peitho. This alteration in speech begins her progression toward

transformation in assuming male roles. This is emphasized to an even greater extent

when we see Hecuba use Cassandra's body as a commodity and expect repayment from

Agamemnon for it.21 Agamemnon, however, refuses to avenge her cause. With no

figure, no space, and now deprived of two more of her children, Hecuba decides that she

must become the man herself and punish her son's murderer.

With the reversal of roles comes also the alteration of space. No longer is the

interior a woman's domain of protection, rest, and adornment. The Chorus' reminiscence

of their final night in Troy, fittingly placed right before the Trojan women's act of

violence, provides a stark contrast between their former domestic space and the inner

space of the tent. This new interior becomes a place of vengeance and murder. Segal


20 I emphasize the verb "act" because, logically, Polyxena could never be a man. I may be arguing
semantics, but the point is that she assumes male behaviors and in a public sphere is lauded for them.
There is no denying that she is a woman, and when she dies, she does so as a respectable female.
21 A woman's body is often seen as an object of exchange and her male figure is the one who has authority
over her body. See Wohl (1998) 1-294.









defines the female interior area as "the space of the irrational or the aspects of the

personality that are hidden, dark, and fearful. It is often the place of female sexuality,

deceit, and revenge."22

Although Greek men did perceive female space as places of guile and mystery

(mostly because these areas were prohibited to them),23 I would argue that this is not

what we see in this tragedy. Hecuba's spaces reflect her very decision to act the part of

the male. Therefore, her behaviors in her new space become completely reversed. The

interior was once her area of safety and servitude to a male figure, but it then becomes

her place of dominance and destruction. Agamemnon's tent can no longer be conceived

as feminine space, because the people who act within it are not women. In the Chorus'

lament of their final night in Troy they spoke of adorning and decorating themselves

within the interior space of their bedchamber. In the tent, the reverse occurs. They

slowly strip Polymestor of his sword, his children, and his robe. Just as it was improper

for females to step out of doors, Polymestor's presence in the "women's quarters" is the

reverse impropriety-the intrusion of a male in "feminine space". When Polymestor asks

Hecuba if it is safe to enter the women's tents, it is followed by the question of whether

or not there were any men around (1017). Polymestor recognized that were he to enter a

female space without permission, it would constitute an act of hybris.24 What Polymestor

did not realize, though, was that the women within have become men who will carry out





22 Segal (1990b) 125.

23 See Zeitlin (1990) 355.

24 Refer to chapter I page 2 of this thesis.









Hecuba's revenge. Hecuba acts the part of the kyrios and with her words now effective,

she is able to persuade Polymestor to enter the tent.

Once Hecuba has completed her act of vengeance, her assumption of male roles is

truly complete. She solidified her transformation with a single unspeakable act. Her new

position is quickly tested within the public realm of men when she defends herself and

her deeds before the assembly. In a place where she was previously unwelcome,25 she

speaks on her own behalf and persuades the Greek assembly of the justice of her actions.

The reversals of space are brought to fulfillment in the end with Polymestor's prophecies.

He destroys Hecuba entirely by foretelling the death of her last child, Cassandra, and her

own metamorphosis into a dog. She is no longer a queen, wife, mother, or even human

being.

Throughout the Hecuba Euripides gives us deeper and more distinct pictures of the

settings within the play. In the broad view lies the Chersonese, the land between

Hecuba's old home and new, between former and future life. This locale is then

narrowed to the area of the Greek camp, where Hecuba exists as an outsider and slave in

the realm of men. Within this space are three settings: the tomb of Achilles, the outside

(in general), and the tent of Agamemnon. Achilles' tomb was a public space that

embraced Polyxena's heroism and encircled her forever as a maiden. The outside was a

place that brought Hecuba, the woman, pain and rejection through the death of her

children and the refusal of her supplications. However, for Hecuba as her own male

figure, Agamemnon's tent becomes her place of violence and dominance. Once her

transformation is accomplished, the exterior space no longer serves as a place of pain, but

25 Odysseus refused to let her die with her daughter (389-390). Neither her presence nor death was needed
to appease Achilles.






50


of victory. Hecuba moves beyond the liminal space of the Chersonese and chooses a

definite space the moment she chooses to act and enter the tent to kill and harm. In this

space Hecuba finds her voice but loses her identity. She chose to step outside into the

public realm of men and by her actions there played the part of a man; as she departs for

her new home, she leaves as a beast.














CHAPTER 6
ELECTRA

The opening lines of Euripides' Electra concerns a place ("i) yfis TrraAca6v

"Apyos, 1) and a man, which we hear is Argos (6) and Agamemnon (3). However, the

play does not focus on these two elements, but rather the lack of them. In the prologue

the audience discovers that this &vac, Agamemnon, has been murdered by his wife while

his daughter, Electra, has been forced outside of the palace to live in poverty with a

farmer. In contrast to the tomb in the Choephoroi and the palace in Sophocles' Elektra,

here Euripides has placed Electra on a farm at the outskirts of the city. In doing so he

emphasizes the extreme distance between Electra's present location and her former place

inside the palace. Finally, at the end of the play, she will be exiled from the land

altogether.

After the death of her father, Electra's existence within the palace had been

anything but grand. She was kept in seclusion cut off from any male suitors in fear that

she would give birth to a child who would avenge her father's death (23-24).1 Electra

claims that her brother left her in the palace in ouwpqopals aAyLoTraCto (132-134) and

there she remained until she was wedded to the farmer-a wedding in name only. All of

this is told to us by Electra's current man, the humble farmer. Electra's isolation is key to

Euripides' characterization of her. These years outside of the palace have allowed her

ample opportunity to lament her situation and resent Aegisthus and her mother for

1 It was inconceivable that Electra, a female, would ever avenge her father's death. Just as Hippolytus
underestimates the vengeance of a woman, so too does Aegisthus and Clytemnestra.









placing her there. Indeed, throughout the play she spends her time pitying herself. She

lacks, or thinks she lacks, a real man to protect her in a space that is unfamiliar to one of

her status.

We first meet Electra carrying a pot for water on her way to the spring-a servant's

task in which she rejoices in order to show the gods how Aegisthus' cruelty has degraded

her. Her toil, however, is not forced upon her through necessity, but by her own volition.

As the dialogue continues between Electra and the farmer, we see that in spite of all her

complaints her labors are not even that difficult (Kai yxp oi0 Trp6co

-Mrlycal PEAdpcov TJovS', 77-78).

When she returns from the spring she is singing and dancing a lament for her father

and brother, but on closer examination, her hymn grieves more for herself than anyone

else. It begins with her pitiable situation, ic'b 1po pot (114),2 her hard toil and hateful life

(120-121), and then turns to the death of her father, which is then followed by the exile of

her brother. Although she calls Orestes her TAQxaiov o0yyov' (131), her misfortunes are

the most grievous (&AyioTaotav, 134). Despite all the mourning she does for her father,

not once do we hear of her visiting her father's grave and performing funerary rites there.

Furthermore the more we hear her complaints the more we discover that she has

brought them upon herself. The Chorus of women invite Electra to the festival of Hera,

but she refuses, claiming her appearance (blemished by tearful nights and cut hair3) is not

fit for the occasion (175-189). She is keener on doing a dance for her misfortunes than

dancing with the brides of Argos for the goddess. When offered clothes and finery to

2 This phrase is repeated again in the two following antistrophe at lines 129 and 159.

3 See Falconer (1995) 319.









wear she does not even respond to the Chorus' assistance, but continues on with the

unfortunate state of her affairs, first pitying father, brother, then self-this time grieving

her impoverished living situation. Electra clearly obtains satisfaction and joy from her

self-martyrdom and weeping.4 Once she encounters the strangers (Orestes and Pylades)

and hears about her brother's status, she unleashes her miseries once again on a fresh pair

of ears-this time bemoaning her appearance, marriage, and squalid home (239, 247,

251). She reiterates these same rTuXaS (3apELas (301) once again at the close of her

speech (304-313). All of her lamentations stem from the fact that she has no male figure

in her life or, at least, no male she is willing to recognize. This is clear enough in her

speech. In her first hundred lines even before she converses with Orestes, Electra has

mentioned her father or his death sixteen times,5 Orestes three times,6 and the farmer

twice.7 Even in her isolation these men are constantly in her thoughts and words. With

the deficiency of a male figure,8 she has no roles-daughter, sister, or wife-and

therefore no identity.

Electra's situation is pitiable to be sure, but it perhaps would not be so grievous if it

were not for the fact that she spends most of her time comparing what she does not have


4 See Raeburn (2000) 151-154.

5 Electra identifies him by some form of rraTrip eleven times at lines 59, 121, 137, 141, 143, 153, 156,
161, 188, 200, and 206. When she calls him by name, it is in reference to Agamemnon as her father at lines
115, 125, and 186. She mentions Agamemnon through his death only twice at 149 and 201.

6 Electra refers to Orestes as her brother oi"yyov' (131), by name (63), or through his exile (202).

7 When she speaks about the farmer, she calls him as either a friend (pqiov, 67) or as a poor man/laborer
(XEpviot, 207). The only time she refers to him as her husband at all in the play is at line 366 after Orestes
speaks about the pretense of their marriage (OUVEKKXATTTEl ydlYou). She never identifies the farmer as
her husband, but rather as one who is called her husband (oiTO5 KKAXrT|Tq TT6rr6otS E ).

8 The farmer does not serve as a sufficient male connection for Electra. See below for my argument on this.









to what her mother does. Part of her lamenting comes from the fact that she does not

possess what she feels she is entitled to. She is cast from the royal halls, her ancestral

home, (306) as a fugitive (209) or a prisoner (1009), and, therefore, no longer possesses

the fineries or adornments fit for the royal child of Agamemnon (186). Clytemnestra sits

upon the throne (315) as queen while Electra is in a peasant's hut (206). Her mother is

surrounded by wealth and luxury (314, 967, 1011) in stark contrast to her own poverty.9

Moreover, the queen is amid a crowd of servants, Phrygian spoils who "adorn her home"

(316, 1007), but Electra feels and looks like a slave (107, 1004).

These regal luxuries, however, are only a fraction of what she complains about.

What she truly resents is the fact that she has lost her rightful place within the palace.

She says that Clytemnestra robbed her and Orestes of their status in the house (lit., made

them subordinate, 63), taking it away at the death of her father. She is further humiliated

by her banishment to the country-the outdoor space of poor women and slaves who had

to work for a living. Art presents the idealized form of the female as pale, because she

was supposed to stay indoors, and the normally dark-skinned Greek women would apply

whitening make up to make themselves look paler, and thus more aristocratic.10 A

princess placed outdoors and thus having the likeness of a poor country woman or a slave

would feel humiliated and rejected because of this. Electra's loss of luxury is one thing;

her loss of status-something altogether worse.

The disparity that Electra perhaps laments most is that her mother has a husband

and children-in essence, a new family-while she has S CruXETS ydptous (49). At the


9 For the disparity between Electra's destitution and Clytemnestra's wealth see Zeitlin (1970) 647, O'Brien
(1964), 32-34, and Kubo (1967) 23.

10 For depictions of women on ancient pottery see Rasmussen et al. (1991) 1-282.









palace Electra was cut off from any male suitors, but now she lives in a marriage that is

not truly a marriage. Although Electra keeps up the pretense of the union by doing

feminine household duties (Trv 66pots 8' i-i;as XpEOV E EUTPETuTLELV, 74-75), nothing

binds the two together as husband and wife. The farmer refuses to shame her in bed or

touch her (43-44, 51, 255), and so they have no children. What is more, with all of the

female duties that Electra claims to carry out, she does not even know how to entertain

guests (357) or prepare them a meal (422-423) as a proper wife was expected to do. The

greatest indicator of the falsity of their marriage, however, is found in the statement,

"ou KUpLOV TOV 86vTa aP' yELTrat" (259). The farmer knows that Aegisthus had no

right to give Electra to him because Clytemnestra's lover was not Electra's rightful male

figure. This counterfeit marriage is further exposed at the end of the play when the

Discouri tell Orestes to give Electra to Pylades as his wife (1249, 1284), either

completely disregarding the fact that she is married to the farmer or considering it null

and void. Only Orestes, who is Electra's proper male connection, can obey their order

and join Electra in true marriage with Pylades. Electra's union with the farmer, because

it is false, serves as another source of misery in the disparity between her life and that of

her mother's.

Electra's comparisons with Clytemnestra accentuate her woes, but also create a

distinction between her and her mother. Electra sees Clytemnestra as a quintessential

dissolute and base woman. She is the adulteress who primps herself before the mirror to

display herself in public for some evil while her husband is away (1070ff.), betrays her

connubial bed (920), and marries in shame (916ff). Clytemnestra has stepped out of her

interior space and exchanged her husband for a lover, becoming the typical promiscuous









woman. She rejected her connection with Agamemnon and persuaded Aegisthus to

slaughter him. As the adulteress, she violates the division of space; and though she

remains in the palace, it is no longer a home without the true male leader. Clytemnestra

has destroyed the household, and therefore the household (her offspring) will destroy her.

This is how Electra views her mother. In Electra's mind, her mother is the wicked

woman who steps out of doors, but in actuality, Electra is the one who stands at the

exterior. She has been exiled from the palace. Despite her attempts to contrast herself

with her mother, at the same time she desires to possess everything that Clytemnestra has.

Eventually, they become one and the same, for although Electra condemns her mother,

she will repeat her very crime. As Clytemnestra stained the palace, so will Electra

pollute her new "space"-the hut to which she has been exiled.

During the course of the play as we hear Electra grieving, we may become annoyed

with her whining, but we still pity her and feel she is justified in her hatred toward

Aegisthus and Clytemnestra. As the play progresses, however, we begin to see that her

view of the world is distorted and things are not entirely as she sees them.11 The lowly

farmer with whom she has entered into a 6avdatoLov ydp|ov (247) is a man of great

virtue (367ff.)12 while the brother whom she believed so brave and courageous is a

coward. Her false marriage is a far cry from the luxuries of the palace (where she claims

she ought to be), but here on the farm she is surrounded by kindness and care.13 The

tragedy of Electra is not her sorrowful circumstance, but rather the progressive unveiling



1 For an in-depth analysis of Electra's "double vision" see Arnott (1981) 179-192 and Hartigan (1991)
107-126.
12 On the character of the farmer see Sheppard (1918) 137-138.

13 Morwood (1981) 368-369.









of her distorted sense of reality that leads her to kill her mother. Her time outside of the

palace devoid of a male figure has perverted her perception of the world.

She believes that Orestes, her courageous brother (&SEAqpv TOV EPliv

EUQapofi), would never enter Argos in secret (525-526) nor would he resemble her in

stature (537) because he is a man trained at the gym. As we discover Orestes' character,

however, we find that he is spineless and unwilling to take any risks.14 In his opening

speech he says that he came into Argos ouSEVOS ~uVEti6Tog (88) and does not even

intend to enter within the city walls (94). He has no plan to avenge his father, but instead

asks Electra and then the Old Man what he should do (274, 612). He is also extremely

hesitant to reveal his identity to his sister because he realizes that "once recognized he

will have to act."15

Clytemnestra, too, despite all of her heinous past acts, is not the wretched woman

we see Electra describing over and over again. Though we may know her as an

adulteress, this is not the woman we see in the play. Instead, Euripides shows her as a

truly caring mother. As Arnott points out, Clytemnestra was the one who saved Electra

from death (28ff) and chose to visit her daughter after her reported childbearing; she

appears to worry about her image and her children.16 Aegisthus' portrayal suffers the

same distortion when viewed through Electra's skewed lens. In contrast to the man who

rides about in Agamemnon's chariot, defiles the former king's grave (319ff.), corrupted




14 Sheppard (1918) 138 casts Orestes as "cautious beyond measure, weak, indecisive..."

15 Halporn (1983) 103.

16 Amott (1981) 184.









her mother, and killed her father (916ff.), we see that Aegisthus is a congenial host who

invites strangers to celebrate in his sacrifice (779ff).

Electra's distorted vision and false sense of reality is due to her isolation and lack

of male figures. Without men in her life she has no roles. She can be no daughter to a

dead father (or step-father who exiles her), no sister to a banished brother, and no wife to

a pretend husband. She does nothing other than menial chores, sit and lament, dance and

lament, or sing her lament. It is no wonder that Electra is so willing to die once she has

killed her mother (281) because she essentially has nothing else to live for, which she

comes to realize at the end of the play. If her situation seemed pitiable when she

compared herself to her mother, we see that she is even worse off because her values are

entirely distorted.

All of her years alone, her miserable sufferings, the absence of a male figure, and

her delusions of reality have led up to the recognition scene with Orestes where she is

ripe for vengeance. Orestes finally returns as her savior-her male figure who can set her

life aright and avenge her father's murderers (600). However, what she believes of his

courage and valor is not exactly what she encounters. She believes Orestes will do the

deed, but fears also that he will fail. She sits in agony awaiting the news of whether or

not he is victorious while poised ready to kill herself (694ff.). Increasingly we see that

brother and sister are nothing alike.17 Where Orestes is cowardly and hesitant, she takes

the lead and so attempts to become her own savior. Electra is the one who plans out the

death of her mother and provides the story to bring Clytemnestra to her home; Electra

sends Orestes inside while she stands outside and brings her mother into the house;


1 See Halporn (1983) 101-118 for the distancing of brother and sister.









Electra guides Orestes' blind hand to drive the sword into their mother. In the absence of

a male figure to avenge her cause (or rather in the presence of one who is too cowardly to

act), Electra becomes her own male figure.

Her years outside of the palace may have made her callous and angry, but they have

not prepared her to fully assume the male roles she has carried out. For after Electra

killed her mother, she was instantly remorseful of her actions. However, we see that she

has not stopped thinking about herself or her position as a woman. The first thing she

asks is who will marry her now. She still longs for a man, a place, a home. Orestes is the

only one who has the authority to provide her this and is told twice by the Discouri to

give her to Pylades (1249, 1284).

The entire play is the struggle for Electra to make for herself a space and she does

achieve this in the end. But why? After such calculated and wicked deeds, how is it that

Electra gets what she desired all along? One wonders if Euripides is rewarding her

behavior or saying that her vengeance was just. Not at all. Based on how we have seen

Euripides characterize Electra we know that her situation is pitiable, to be sure, but not

just cause for murder. Euripides does not allow us to sympathize with Electra; she has

already done that enough for herself. The absence of any male figure and her distance

outside of the palace has aroused her vengeance and caused her to commit her shameful

act. Therefore, I believe that Euripides has presented this ending because he is providing

Electra with a male guardian in place of Orestes who is being exiled. Electra still gets

what she wants, not because she deserved to have a true husband but because this

guardian will keep her under control and will provide a space for her. This is

substantiated by line 1311 when Orestes asks if his sister will be all right now that he is






60


exiled. The Discouri say that though she may be exiled from Argos, she has a husband

and home, which is all she needs.














CHAPTER 7
CONCLUSION

Throughout these four plays we see that Euripides defines female space by a male

figure as much as or perhaps even more so than the actually physical interior space itself.

The concept of female space and male connection is so intricately woven together, that

for a woman, being without a man is essentially equivalent to being without a space.

When Medea rejected her father and chose Jason, she left her homeland. After she lost

Jason to another woman, she becomes an exile from Corinth. When she acquires the

allegiance of Aegeus, she gains a new space and a new home. Phaedra, whose husband is

off in a foreign country, associates the interior with Theseus and the exterior with

Hippolytus, and shifts between both spaces. Hecuba has lost both husband and male

children and was abandoned to a life of slavery. She would have no real home, although

she would be the servant of a male. She subsisted within the Chersonese until she

abandons the land altogether. Although the farmer is not a true male figure for Electra,

she lives within his home, but outside the palace walls. Just as women were identified in

the law courts through their male relations, here in Euripides' tragedies, without a male, a

woman has no identity, no space, and no existence.

Euripides' views on the seclusion of women to the home seem no different then

other men of his time. He demonstrates that the moment his women "step outside the

palace", whether by choice or compulsion, they are doomed. Interior spaces are

associated with female passivity and proper behavior while exterior spaces belong to the

public realm of men and cause women pain and suffering. We see these very ideas









reflected in the spacing of these women. Medea was a passive victim until she stepped

outside of her house; Phaedra suffered in silence inside her room; Hecuba was a queenly

mother and wife before the destruction of Troy; and Electra endured her seclusion within

the palace walls.1 The moment these women lose their feminine space or exit their

homes, however, they experience even greater misfortune or behave in ways improper for

females to act. Medea kills Glauke, Creon, and then her children; Phaedra reveals her

passion for Hippolytus and then writes a false accusation against him; Hecuba blinds

Polymestor and kills his children; and Electra kills her mother after abetting the death of

her stepfather. The interior is the female domain, while the exterior is a place of

improper behavior. When a man kills his enemy, he is a hero. When a woman does the

same, she is a villain. Males have so arranged the world that the same act takes on a

different status dependent upon who-man or woman-does it.

Euripides' innovative nature does not lie in the fact that he brings his women

outside of the house, but rather in that he has them act as males. All of these women first

endured their situation as women were expected to do-inside in silence or through

supplications. But in the absence of their male figure, these women carry out male

actions, which, in these plays, involve murder of some kind. With the reversal of their

roles came a reversal of space, with the result that the women used their interior space-

the former place of passivity-for acts of violence and destruction. The moment they do

this, however, they can never return to these spaces, for they are no longer their places of

refuge, protection, and feminine roles. Medea flees to Athens, Phaedra dies, Hecuba


1 Electra may still have lamented her situation, but she would have at least done so as a princess under the
care of her mother instead of as a poor pauper. I would even go as far to say that had she remained inside
the palace, she would not have resented Clytemnestra as much as she did as an exile and pseudo-wife to the
farmer.









departs from the land, and Electra is exiled. As women their connection with these

specific spaces is lost and they must attempt to regain another female space elsewhere.

Although Euripides seems to propagate female behaviors in exterior spaces as

dangerous, still, we see that when women behave as men, they are successful. What

makes these women so remarkable and at the same time so fearful is the fact that they

succeed, not behaving as women, but as men. What is Euripides telling his audience

when he allows these females to accomplish their desires for revenge? He, unlike

Hippolytus, can conceive of these women out of doors, but is Euripides, through these

female successes, saying that it is permissible for females to exit the home? I do not

think so. Euripides is the impartial dramatist. He neither condemns nor condones his

characters, but portrays them as human beings. Euripides could have just as easily not

allowed these women to accomplish their goals. In a sense, he does have them fail. It is

a question of how one measures success. Can a woman truly feel victorious at the cost of

the lives of her children, her own life, her degeneracy to an animal, or her own exile?

But the measuring these females' success or failure would be missing the point.

Euripides is representing reality. The Athenian female, if placed in these same

circumstances, could carry out all of these actions. The truth of the matter, however, is

that although these women have carried out their vengeance in male form, we see that

they cannot exist without a male figure. They have committed male acts and have all

been successful, but their glory is stained, for they have been rewarded as men and not as

women. A woman acting as a male is, indeed, not only outside the palace, but also her

proper space. Thus in the end she must be restored to a male, a kyrios, or die.






64


Euripides, despite his reputation for innovation, if analyzed as I have here, seems to

share the views of his audience: women outside the palace are dangerous. But he has,

nevertheless, questioned the prevailing ideas, he has dared to ask if women can be like

men. And although to do so does not earn these females praise, Euripides can answer his

own question with a resounding yes.
















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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Jeannie Thanh Nguyen was born to Mr. and Mrs. Luc Nguyen on February 14,

1982. Born and raised in Winter Haven, FL, she graduated as the salutatorian from Lake

Region High School in May 2000. In 2004 she completed her Bachelor of Arts in

classics and Bachelor of Science in psychology at the University of Florida. She will also

receive a Master of Arts in classics from the University of Florida in 2006.