Explain the role of women, supernatural, and nature of evil in Medea by Euripides and Macbeth by Shakespeare.

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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Medea by Euripides: the traditional role of women for Euripides was as wives and mothers, subservient to their husbands and devoted to their children or roles as servants. Medea, as a sorceress and barbarian princess violates these norms. She is evil and has some supernatural power.

Macbeth by Shakespeare: the witches are instruments of prophesy and supernatural evil. Lady Macbeth, like Medea, violates gender norms to strengthen Macbeth’s resolve to kill Duncan, but at the end is basically undone by the tension between what she must become to aid Macbeth and her feminine nature. She also has supernatural associations.

In both dramas, the feminine and supernatural are linked together and to evil.