Essay: Aeschylus the Suppliant Women – Play of its time or Play of All Time?

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  • Subject area(s): English literature essays
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  • Published on: January 14, 2020
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  • Aeschylus the Suppliant Women - Play of its time or Play of All Time?
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During this essay I will be discussing whether or not Aeschylus the suppliant women is a play of its time or if it can be considered a play of all time. I will discuss how Ancient Greece was a patriarchal and xenophobic society and how this can directly relate to modern day. Due to its key topics and themes I will be arguing that the suppliant women is a play of all time. Such themes I intend to talk about include; Immigration and gender. In relation to gender we can look at the suppliant women and decipher the feminist undertones by considering the role of women in ancient Greece and how these women are presented as powerful and threatening in the play. In many ways we can see the direct correlation to modern day and the struggles women have in society and the threat they still pose to many. I believe the play could be looked on as an example of a feminist piece of theatre and as well as examining the role of gender I will also be considering the role of immigration and how these people were treated in society. Similarly, to modern day society the topic of immigration was controversial and many of the attitudes and arguments are very similar. By looking at such topics and the work of Scholars both making arguments for and against these ideas, I hope to discuss how such an ancient play can still hold so many similarities to the 21st century.

During the era of ancient Greece women had very little too no rights, compared to the men due to the patriarchal system. The inability to vote, own land and inherit. A women’s main role was to satisfy her husband and the upbringing of their children. There were also categories of women which are less well-documented than others such as professional women who worked in shops and as prostitutes and courtesans. Living as a woman in Greek society seemed extremely hard and unfair and some would even argue that this is also the reality for most women in the 21st century and all previous eras. The treatment of females in the suppliant woman and the females today have a direct link due to their struggles even though the struggles may not be the same for example; women can now vote, own land and do the same jobs’ men. It is still said they do not have an equal role in society and are treated different. The very first sentence of Suppliant Women shows that the Danaids pose a formidable challenge to traditional Greek notions about women. […]They thereby serve notice that they are rejecting the primary role prescribed for them by Greek society. It could be said that the Danaids posed a threat to Greek society and their way of life due to their actions. Their actions could of resulted in a up rise of women not wanting to comply orders, it would of severely disrupted the Greeks way of life. From the time of the Greeks till now there has been many movements that have helped females in to the position they are in now, in society. However feminist groups are still franticly hard at work trying to change the balance further. So I say forget equal pay for women — women obviously need higher salaries than men.

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