This paper contends that Euripides' portrayal of Medea in his famous play named after her serves as the first notable precursor of the Feminist perspective. Euripides' depiction of Medea as a proud, active and strong woman seems to be way ahead of his time. While doing so, he has shown a marked shift from the predominant patriarchal trends of his times. In an attempt to materialise such a shift, he has departed from the various mythological versions of Medea's life, which were prevalent in his age. Hence, Euripides manages to expose the chauvinistic trends of the Greek society and uses his artistic genius to lay bare the inherent imperfections in the supposedly perfect' Greek Civilisation.
Let us scrutinise how Euripides manages to portray Medea as the first notable precursor of the feminist perspective. A keen reader of the Greek Tragedy may argue that there are various other female characters that have acquired considerable limelight. Aeschylus' Clytemnestra , Sophocles' Antigone and Euripides' Hecabe and Andromache may be quoted as pertinent examples to substantiate this objection. A close study of all these characters would reveal that none of them happens to be in the same league as Medea. I shall present two arguments to establish the preceding claim. .
First, Medea outshines all the other portrayals because it has been written from the perspective of a woman who is conscious of her socio-political milieu. Her following dialogue serves as an evidence of her thorough insight into the status of women in her age: .
" we women.
Are the most wretched. When, for an extravagant sum,.
We have bought a husband, we must then accept him as.
Possessor of our body . For women, divorce is not.
Respectable; to repel the man not possible.
Still more, a foreign woman, coming among new laws,.
New customs, needs the skill of magic, to find out.
What her home could not teach her, how to treat the man.