Week Two Discussion Question

This week’s required multimedia “Women in Greek Theatre” tells us that drama in ancient Greece was written by men, played by men, and performed for men. Although we see strong female characters in the plays, in reality, women lived in subjugation with their key roles being wife and mother. According to scholars of women’s legal status in ancient Greece, a marriage contract specified that both husband and wife were required to be chaste within the context of the household. Nothing, however, prevented the husband from having relations with other women or men outside the home while the wife could not leave the house for longer than a few hours without the husband’s permission (Lefkowitz, n.d.). In the hands of the great tragic poets, the tensions and emotions resulting from these inequities were worked out on stage. For this assignment, choose one female character and discuss the conflict(s) that stemmed from the prescribed gender roles in ancient Greece. How were the conflicts resolved? Would equality in marriage and society have resulted in a different outcome?


Lefkowitz, M.R. and Maureen B. Fant. Legal status in the Greek world. Women’s life in Greece and Rome. A source book in translation, 2nd. ed. Baltimore, 1992.

Women in Greek Theatre (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/video/women-in-greek-theatre-1

Required Resources



Aeschylus. (n.d.). Agamemnon (I. Johnston, Trans.). Retrieved from


·         An ancient Greek tragedy which will form the basis of our understanding of how the Greeks understood human suffering and the role of fate in human life.

Euripides. (n.d). Medea. (C.A.E. Luschnig, Trans.). Retrieved from http://www.stoa.org/diotima/anthology/medea.trans.shtml

·         In addition to exploring human suffering in general, this ancient Greek tragedy examines the nature of women’s suffering in particular and the unique challenges women faced in ancient Greek society.

Gill, N. (n.d.). The House of Atreus. Retrieved from http://ancienthistory.about.com/od/houseofatreus/a/houseofatreus.htm

·         This article provides background necessary for understanding the Agamemnon reading. Accessibility Statement does not exist.

Sappho. (1997). Hymn to Aphrodite [E.Vandiver, Trans.]. Retrieved from http://www.stoa.org/diotima/anthology/vandiver.shtml

·         This poem provides a woman’s voice to balance the perspective of the male writers we read this week on gender roles in ancient Greek culture.



Cracknell, C. (2014). Women in Greek theatre [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/video/women-in-greek-theatre-1

·         This video provides background information to help students understand the Aeschylus and Euripides reading.

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Moyers. B. (1988). Martha Nussbaum. [Video file]. A World of Ideas. Retrieved from


·         This video explores the relevance of ancient Greek tragedy for modern life.

White, C. (n.d.). An introduction to Greek theatre [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/video/an-introduction-to-greek-theatre-

·         This video provides background information to help students understand the Aeschylus and Euripides reading.

White, C. [Director]. (n.d.). An introduction to Greek tragedy [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/video/an-introduction-to-greek-tragedy

·         This video provides background information to help students understand the Aeschylus and Euripides reading.

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