2018-2019 Catalog

CSLC 181 Violent Femmes: Drama in the Polis

The mythic queen Clytemnestra kills her husband and is murdered by her son who seeks to avenge his father. The sorceress Medea murders her two sons to punish her unfaithful husband. Classical drama revels in depicting villainous and violent women, such as these, so much so that this practice inspired a contemporaneous comedy where Athenian women plot to kill the tragic playwright Euripides for his slanderous portrayal of the female sex. This course will consider the depiction of women in select Athenian plays of the 5th century BCE. We will read Aeschylus' Oresteia trilogy, Euripides' Medea, Aristophanes' Thesmophoriazusae, and selections from contemporary scholars. We will examine these figures in their dramatic and historical context to acquire a deeper understanding of how the concept of woman is articulated on the Athenian stage.


4 units

Core Requirements Met

  • Regional Focus
  • Pre-1800