Why Medea was critical acclaimed in later on cultures?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When describing women, the Greek historian Thucydides argued that women should be "spoken of as little as possible among men, whether for good or for ill."  The Classical construction of women was one where women were seen as submissive to men.  One reason why Medea was acclaimed outside of Greek culture was that it presented an entirely different view of women.  In Euripides' work, Medea repudiates Thucydides's claim that women were to be "spoken of as little as possible."  In fact, Medea initiates a new conversation about what it means to be a woman with autonomy and agency.  Medea is shown to be a transformative figure in both good and bad senses, one who forces men and women to reconfigure what it means to be a woman.

As time has passed, the acclaim that followed Medea echoed how it gave voice to those previously silenced.  Medea's force with which her voice is heard has gained particular fascination in the modern setting, a time period where the reclamation of voice has been intrinsic to cultural development.  The struggles that Medea experiences have "been used to express the problems of many different cultures and groups."  Medea's narrative is one where the understanding of force and voice is intrinsic to both characterization and conflict development.  In this light, Medea has gained critical acclaim because it shows how individuals who struggle to be heard and fight against an authority figure that seeks to silence their voice navigates such a reality.  This has been appealing to so many over time because of its ability to speak to a uniquely human predicament:  The desire to be heard and "to not be ignored."