Woman's Power, Man's Game: Essays on Classical Antiquity in Honor of Joy K. King

Woman's Power, Man's Game: Essays on Classical Antiquity in Honor of Joy K. King

Woman's Power, Man's Game: Essays on Classical Antiquity in Honor of Joy K. King

Woman's Power, Man's Game: Essays on Classical Antiquity in Honor of Joy K. King

Synopsis

Woman's Power, Man's Game is a revealing and thoughtful analysis of women in antiquity, as portrayed in classical literature. The book features essays by 12 classicists who provide provocative examinations of significant aspects of female situations in antiquity.

Excerpt

"I do not think I ever opened a book in my life
which had not something to say upon a woman's
inconstancy. Songs and proverbs, all talk of woman's
fickleness. But perhaps you will say, these were all
written by men."

"Perhaps I shall.—Yes, yes, if you please, no refer-
ence to examples in books. Men have had every
advantage of us in telling their own story. Education
has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has
been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove any
thing."

"But how shall we prove any thing?"

"We never shall."

(Jane Austen, Persuasion, 234)

The chorus of Euripides' Medea, composed in 431 B.C., like the speakers of Jane Austen's Persuasion some twenty-two centuries later, points out that the songs about women's infidelity were made by men:

Cease now, you muses of the ancient singers,
To tell of my unfaithfulness;
For not on us did Phoebus, lord of music,
Bestow the lyre's divine
Power, for otherwise I should have sung an answer
To the other sex. Long time
Has much to tell of us, and much of them.

(Medea 421-30, trans. Rex Warner)

Medea, deserted by her ungrateful husband and exiled by the country's king, finds a chorus of sympathetic listeners in the women of Corinth who perceive her as a victim in a world run by men. Unaware of the . . .

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