In my observation, no matter when in ancient Greece or in modern days, being faithful in marriage seems harder than making vows. It needs efforts from both sides. Meanwhile, as a wife, they have no choice but to be obedient, just like “female slaves.” Just as Teacher Tseng had said, as female slaves, women in ancient Greece are one of the male’s poverty. They are told not to have opinions because men equal “power.” With power at hand, cheating on marriage seems to be taken for granted. However, even though we are all live in modern world, men and women still keep fighting for “power” and dignity. Ironically, wars between both sides never stop, and the answer still keeps unknown. Contributing to efforts for women rights, nowadays cheating is never considered men’s “patent.” Women resort to divorce, official solution to end up the marriage. In Medea, Jason and Medea have been through a lot after the adventures of Golden Fleece before their marriage. Gradually, their relaitonship came to an end while Jason betrayed her. Finally, Medea resorted to violence. It is female’s wrong, which is not the achievements of women’s right. Then, what’s wrong with marriage? Throughout the whole history, being honest and faithful in marriage would never be “a piece of cake.” That is to say, to “live happily ever after” depends on how much pain you get and how much effort you pay. Thus, questions keep popping out of my head. Would it be that difficult to seriously look upon marriage? Or, is staying faithful a mission impossible? Whether marriage is somewhat like divorce or not? Perhaps, all the vows and promises end up with quarrels and frights. Then, they start fighting for kids, money, and fame. Sometimes, it may end up with violence like in Medea. Where is the “true love” thing gone?
Since I read Medea as a classic tragic masterpiece, I have been totally overwhelmed by the “violence” in Medea. To refer to the violence, Medea deals with her domestic problem with violence, which reflects how extremely furious she confront while being cheated in marriage. As we all know about Medea, she is the woman who killed her son as revenge. But the thing I am more concerned about is the “cause.” Why did Medea act like a cruel mother, true stereotype or false? As a foreigner, a princess, a mother, and, a woman, is Medea’s “social positions” bothering? To me, as a modern girl in this age, Medea still arouses my sympathy. She makes me wonder how a relationship in marriage falls apart and turns out to be a bloody cruelty. Besides, Medea was completely “avant-garde,” challenging and overthrowing the moral value in every reader’s mind. It is never anything but moral breakdown, and what is takes to be discussed is the cause “under” the fact. Therefore, this is the reason why I choose “marriage life” as the theme that I take up for the review paper. I will focus on the unhappy marriage which gives rise to Medea’s domestic violence concerning her social positions as a woman and a wife. Moreover, I will discuss how “time” differs the notion in marriage from ancient to modern women.
For a woman, nor can she say no to her marriage.
She arrives among new modes of behavior and manners,
And needs prophetic power, unless she has learnt at home,
How best to manage him who shares the bed with her.
And if we work out all this well and carefully,
And the husband lives with us and lightly bears his yoke,
Then life is enviable. If not, I’d rather die.
A man, when he’s tired of the company in his home,
Goes out of the house and puts an end to his boredom.
And turns to a friend or companion of his own age.
But we are forced to keep our eyes on one alone.
What they say of us is that we have a peaceful time
Living at home, while they do the fighting in war.
How wrong they are... (pp.235-245)
Since I attempt to take up the marriage issue as my theme, I choose the section for discussion. In my opinion, Medea here is more than just complaining about the domestic problems; instead, it is the statement that lights up women’s status: low and functional. They live for husbands, raising kids, and it seems that all women could do is compromise, in order to accomplish the family. “For a woman, nor can she say no to her marriage.” Never say no, only say yes. Medea also acts like a
“marriage counselor” who teaches women how to grab their men’s heart. She has to be “prophetic” so as to manage the one who shares the bed with her. “Then life is enviable.” On the contrary, if the marriage does not go like that, the marriage life would be miserable. Likewise, when men felt bored or dull at home, they could hang out with friends outside and develop another way of lifestyle. Women could not. Only they could do is to stay inside, to stay obedient. How sympathetic women are!
O coward in every way,--that is what I call you,
With bitterest reproach for your lack of manliness,
You have come, you, my worst enemy, have come to me!
This is how I behaved to you, you wretched man,
And you forsook me, took another bride to bed
Though you had children; for, if that had not been,
You would have had an excuse for another wedding.
Faith in your word has gone.
However, Medea is not as tame as other women. She has the strong personality to speak it out loud; also, she is fierce while declaring that she wants to be a soldier in battlefield instead of bearing a child at home. Moreover, from the way she talks, although she was extremely mad, we could perceive that she always well organized and clearly stated her points of view. Sometimes she seems mean but she is rather rational. She is not the kind of emotional shrew but a rational and intellectual woman. As a matter of fact, Medea is so “modern” in a way. Although she is a classic figure in ancient mythology, her strong personality has always overwhelmed the readers. Even though time goes on and on, Medea has been vividly performed in every woman who might suffer the same problem.
Although Medea is a tragedy which ends up with killing, she must have much space we could think. I do not focus on “what” she did, but “why” Medea reflects the extremity while a woman suffers betrayal. As far as I am concerned, no matter when time flows, she still arouses our sympathy since true love and happy marriage is what every girl wants and pursues in our lifetime.