You may remember Niobe from the forth episode in Sophocles' tragedy Antigone. Antigone compares herself to Niobe. What do Antigone and Niobe have in common? In the end of the story, Niobe is turned to stone. In your imagination, what causes her metamorphoses to stone?
Medea as female archetype. What does Medea come to represent in western thought?
Euripides' play Medea was produced in 431 BC, the year that brought the beginning of the Peloponnesian War. In the play Medea says the following to Creon:
Through being considered clever I have suffered much.
A person of sense ought never to have his children
Brought up to be more clever than the average.
For, apart from cleverness bringing them no profit,
It will make them objects of envy and ill-will.
If you put new ideas before the eyes of fools
They'll think you foolish and worthless into the bargain
And if you are thought superior to those who have
Some reputation for learning, you will become hated.
I have some knowledge myself of how this happens;
For being clever, I find that some will envy me,
Others object to me. Yet all my cleverness
Is not so much. Well, then, are you frightened, Creon. . . .
In mythology, Medea is one the original "Smart Woman." Even today, I believe we can say something about men, women, and intelligence.
For Women: Have you ever felt that being "brainy" has caused you problems? What problems are the result of Medea's intelligence?
--Do you as a young woman find that young men--potential boyfriends--react in unpredictable ways and even undesirable ways to your intelligence? Can you offer an example?
For Men: Are you or have you ever been intimidated by a smart woman? What was the result? And in some ways mythology includes stories where men have come to fear the power of women. according to these stories, why should men fear women?