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Mask, Strength and Revenge in Medea

Writer Oscar Wilde as soon as said: “A mask tells us a lot more than a face.” Throughout history, lies and masks have been a signifies to an finish in reaching the goals of girls who are limited in their existing scenarios – social, political, or economical. Females traditionally can not merely lash out in moments of angry aggravation. The strict manners of behavior of the ancient times prohibit them from undertaking so. Rather they pick the very same strategy of defense by way of deception that has been utilized by animals and humans alike for thousands of year – the disguise.

Regardless of whether verbal, physical, or emotional, these disguises allow ladies to proceed with their plans although diverting any suspicion away from themselves. Medea hides her malicious, murderous intentions behind a shield of tears and emotion as a scorned wife. In the Bible, Judith transforms herself from a widow into a stunning seductress in order to behead the Assyrian basic Holofernes. However is not her physical modifications which brings her success like the assemblywomen, but rather the lies she generates to gain entrance into the enemy camp and the sweet praises she makes use of to lure in the unsuspecting Holofernes prior to she violently kills him. Praxagora and the ladies of The Ecclesiazusae dress themselves in literal disguises – as males toting fake beards and thick robes – so that they can bring about a tide of political modifications, installing the girls as the new leaders and correcting their problematic government in hopes of steering their ship of state into the proper path. Each and every of these women face challenges and every single of them take the unconventional route. They forge their disguises into armor and string collectively webs of deception to resolve their problems and draw their unsuspecting enemies into violent traps of vengeance. In Medea by Euripides, The Book of Judith, and The Ecclesiazusae by Aristophanes, the different techniques of disguises and deception are utilized in Medea’s emotional mask, Judith’s twisting words, and Praxagora’s clever physical costuming as a indicates to reaching their ultimate targets of victory more than these who have wronged them.

Euripides paints Medea as a complex character in the way she changes roles over the course of the tragedy. Her behavior is not in contrast to the way a chameleon changes the color of its skin, adapting to the situation of her marriage as it alterations. Her thoughts, her feelings are multifaceted, masks and shields as she decides to carry out vengeance against these who have taken away her family members and her position of nobility as the wife of Jason. She has been misused and mistreated, her sacrifices to additional her husband have all been for naught for the weakness of his character drives him into marriage with the princess of Corinth. Her reputation for anger and murder are effectively known amongst Creon and Medea’s staff, who worry her lashes of fury. “She is a deep thinker, you know, and she will not place up with this type of abuse.I know her and I am terrified that in silence entering the house where the bed is laid she may well thrust a sharp sword via the heart or kill the princess and the a single who married her and then endure some greater tragedy. She is frightening. It will not be straightforward for an enemy to come out victorious in a battle with her” (Euripides 37-44).

Medea knows that she will not locate the satisfaction of justice she so desperately craves in snapping blind anger. Instead, she makes use of her intelligence, her cold and calculated nature, to construct a surprising façade of emotions. She plays the role of grieving mother completely. She replaces generally anger with crying sadness. “She won’t consume she just gives in to her grief, washing away all her hours in tears, ever because she realized her husband had abandoned her” (Euripides 23-25). Her sorrow touches the heart of the children’s Nurse who begins to take pity on her predicament rather than assume that she will jump to violence. She cries shrilly out for the gods to kill her rather than endure her fate. “Oh Zeus and Earth and Light, hurl your fiery bolt of lightning straight via my skull. What use is life to me? Aah, aah. Let me die and leave this life I hate” (Euripides 142-146). In no way as soon as does she reveal her secret plot. Medea rather gives speeches of pathos, attractive to the ladies of Corinth. “I am cast adrift. I have lost all pleasure in living and I want to die, my close friends. The man who was almost everything to me, try to recognize this, has turned out to be the vilest man alive, my personal husband. Of all creatures that have life and reason we ladies are the sorriest lot” (Euripides 225-230).

Medea reigns in her temper and begs for Creon to change his approaches, even though he expresses his fear for her retaliation. She becomes like one of his subjects in order to his favor. She pretends to agree with his choice and comprehend his justification for the marriage. “I endure the envy of some, and to other people I am a rival but I am not so extremely clever. And then you are afraid of me. What harm can you endure from me? It is not in my power — do not be afraid of me, Creon — to do wrong to the royal loved ones. What wrong have you done me? You married your daughter to the man you chose for her” (Euripides 302-309). She waves a false white flag of peace, telling him that she has accepted her defeat and has no intention of harming her former husband. Creon is the only a single who sees via the act she puts on. He knows that she is forming a secret strategy and she will not just go with out a fight. She weeps and pleads with him but he continues to refuse her requests. In secret, his rejections only add kindling to her revenge. “Do you feel that I would ever have fawned on him if not to get something or with some strategy in thoughts? I would not even have spoken to him or touched his hands. He has reached such a state of recklessness, that though he could have destroyed all my plans by forcing me out of the country, he has permitted me to remain this a single day, in which I will turn three of my enemies” (Euripides 367-373). She plots behind closed doors “with deceit and in silence proceed to the murder” (Euripides 390). Her evil plot of bloodshed and corpses sits simmering behind her teary eyed mask, though at times it can be hard to hold the anger from seeping into her words.

Her disguise is not tangible. She uses her emotions to throw off suspicion of a surprise attack on the new bride and groom. She creates confusion by going against her reputation and becoming the classic wife she really is not. Absolutely everyone expects her to be yelling and angry, not shrill with tears falling down her face. Her cold, intelligent mind is required for not only the brutal murder of her children but it also makes it significantly less complicated to put the different masks of her personality when the want may possibly be. She skillfully lies to her husband, lulling him into a false sense of security. “In contemplating these issues I realized I was suffering delusion and that my rage was in vain. I accept it now. You appear to me to be acting logically in bringing us this marriage alliance, and I was foolish” (Euripides 881-884). His inability to recognize the lies spewing from her mouth causes him to believe her and she utilizes her position as his former wife and their connection as points of emphasis in her appeal of pathos. He makes the error of trusting that these feelings she is making are accurate. Medea’s tears, her emotional state, carry as significantly energy as the sword she makes use of to slay her own children. Without having her pretend blubbering sorrow, she would not be able to carry out the brutal plot. She tailors her behavior to every person she speaks – she acts as submissive and full of praises in front of Creon. She addresses Jason in a firm yet reassuring manner as to convince him of her compliance with the new marriage. In front of the crucial individuals who have and nevertheless continue to choose her fate, she presents herself with the sugary smile of the perfect housewife with daggers just out of sight tucked behind her teeth. Her continual shifting of speech and feeling make her a threat to those who have wronged her and ultimately they all fall into the trap she has created with her tears and false offerings of peace and understanding. Though her physical look in no way modifications over the duration of her play, she puts on a show of different feelings in order to mask her sharp intelligence and accurate barbaric nature.

Judith, in the Book of Judith in the Bible, arms herself with words. As her fellow Israelites grow weaker beneath the strain of the siege placed on them by the general Holofernes and his army, Judith prays with them in hopes of some salvation. Her words, her pleas up to God are essential strengths in order to go to Holofernes and save Jerusalem. “By guile of my lips strike down slave with master, and master with retainer. Break their pride by a woman’s hand” (Book of Judith. 9. 481-482). When the Israelites face depleting sources and starvation and the eminent domination of the Assyrian army, they also rely on words and prayers in hopes of protection and salvation. “All the men of Israel cried most fervently to God and humbled themselves prior to him. They draped the altar itself in sackcloth and fervently joined together in begging the God of Israel not to let their youngsters be carried off, their wives distributed as booty, the towns of their heritage destroyed, the Temple profaned and desecrated for the heathen to gloat over” (Jud. four. 143-146). Judith, a pious widow who has been mourning her husband for three years, realizes that desperate prayers alone will not save her people. She is infuriated by the worshippers, who develop frustrate and angry, and berates them for believing that demanding rescue from God is the correct point to do. “You place the Lord Almighty to the test! You do not recognize anything, and by no means will. Despite the fact that it could not be his will to aid us inside the subsequent 5 days, he has the energy to protect us for as many days as he pleases, just as he has the energy to destroy us ahead of our enemies. But you have no proper to demand guarantees exactly where the styles of the Lord our God are concerned. For God is not to be threatened as a human being is, nor is he, like a mere human, to be cajoled” (Jud. eight. 306-311). She then decides to take matters into her own hands and let her faith to be tested by Heaven. “You left their wives to be carried off, their daughters to be taken captive, and their spoils to be shared out amongst the sons you loved, who had been so zealous for you, had loathed the stain place on their blood and referred to as on you for help. O God, my God, now heat this widow also for you have made the past, and what is taking place now, and what will follow. What is, what will be, you have planned what has been, you designed” (Jud. 9. 464-468).

Judith is described as quite stunning, yet perpetually dressed in robes of mourning. She undergoes a transformation that echoes Praxagora’s own dramatic shift in appearance, exchanging her widow’s dress and sackcloth for perfumes and jewelry. Nevertheless, she recognizes that looks alone will not get her into Holofernes’ tent. She knows that she wants to be “so beautiful of face and so wise of speech” (Jud. 11. 600-601) in order to slay the common. Judith crafts her words into the excellent deception, she disguises herself in lies. There is a biting irony to her words as she praises the Assyrian general and wishes a extended life for him but she never ever as soon as revealing her accurate intentions: “We have certainly heard of your genius and adroitness of thoughts. It is recognized everywhere in the world that all through the empire you have no rival for capacity, wealth of encounter and brilliance in waging war” (Jud. 11. 565-567). She disguises herself into the ideal submissive woman for an egotistical man like Holofernes, “makes herself lovely adequate to beguile the eye of any man who saw her” (Jud. ten. 501) but with an eloquence and sophistication that commands respect.

The words she exchanges with Holofernes generate the ideal mask for her secret plot to unfold, more than seductive beauty. She brushes off his inquiries over her lack of supplies with a sweet irony. “‘May your soul reside, my lord,’ Judith answered, ‘the Lord will have utilised me to achieve his program, prior to your servant has completed these provisions’” (Jud. 12. 573-574). Her calm, direct way of addressing the general is as sharp and cool as the curved blade she requires to his neck. Her beauty “takes his soul prisoner” (Jud. 12. 747) after she had lured him into a false sense of security with her soothing language. “‘Who am I’, Judith replied, ‘to resist my lord? I shall not hesitate to do whatever he wishes, and carrying out this will be my joy to my dying day’” (Jud. 12. 596-597). Her stunning face and her sugary words mask her accurate intentions. It is the excellent defense. As the Assyrian soldiers say: “‘who could despise a folks who have girls like this?’” (Jud. 10 . 538)? Her willingness to cooperate, to feed details to the enemy of Israel, tends to make her a desirable asset during the siege. The beauty of her face causes every person who encounters her to automatically assume that she is great and innocent, incapable of such a brutal execution however it is the way she weaves her words about the unsuspecting Holofernes, flattering him and seducing him, that in the end leads to her profitable beheading of the Assyrian common. Her disguise in the type of lies and manipulation get her into Holofernes’ tent and guarantees her accomplishment in saving her men and women from army that seeks to drive them to destruction.

In Aristophanes’ satire, The Ecclesiazusae, Praxagora is a Greek woman who has grown tired of the problematic Athenian government so she masterminds a rather unusual plan to correct these issues that had been unresolved by the males up until now. She, along with the other women of Athens, requires on literal disguises rather than the metaphorical ones of Judith and Medea. “When this is accomplished, fix on your beards, and when they are arranged in the best way feasible, dress yourselves in the cloaks you have stolen from your husbands ultimately start off off, leaning on your staffs and singing some old man’s song as the villagers do” (Aristophanes 291-294). Praxagora, their leader, relies on the stupidity of the males in order to succeed in making these political changes. She knows that they will be simply fooled and willingly comply with her proposition merely due to the fact it is a single resolution that they have not tried however in repairing the numerous problems littered across the Athenian government. The new look gains her entrance into the assembly and now Paxagora can garner the votes she demands to fully adjust the Athenian government. Her group of female followers commit to their masks – discarding the conventional conventions of beauty and cleanliness for the sake of their city. “I started by throwing away my razor, so that I may get quite hairy, and no longer resemble a woman” (Aristophanes 61-62). She believes that the girls of Athens will do a a lot much better job of running the city than the men ever had. Her disguise is of fantastic significance of her lead to. If her genuine identity had been to be revealed, she and her fellow women would be subject to extreme punishment. “Let us not neglect to give ourselves this name and might that of woman in no way slip out of our mouths woe to us, if it have been discovered that we had laid such a plot in the darkness of night” (Aristophanes 304-306).

Although the eloquence of her argument will initiate agreement amongst the other members of the Assembly, it is definitely essential that she and the other folks be treated with respect. Their costumes give weight to their words. Praxagora’s speech would otherwise be disregarded if she appeared in front of the Assembly in her usual dress. Praxagora trades in her smooth complexion and beauty for political energy and a false, all for the higher great. “Let us drive away these men of the city who utilized to keep at property and chatter round the table” (Aristophanes 314-315). Her clever disguise proves profitable in reaching the social and political alterations she had been pursuing. She convinces the other guys to establish a new technique of socioeconomic equality, all lead and organized by the Athenian women. With the talent of an orator, she persuades the government to location the helm of authority in the hands of the Assemblywomen. “Let us as a result hand Athens over to them with out endless discussions, with no bothering ourselves about what they will do let us just hand them more than the power, remembering that they are mothers and will therefore spare the blood of our soldiers besides, who will know much better than a mother how to forward provisions to the front? I omit a thousand other benefits. Take my guidance and you will live in ideal happiness” (Aristophanes 243-246). Praxagora, under the guise of a man, transforms the traditional submissive role of a Greek woman in a patriarchal society with the identical dramatic adjust of her look. Unlike the men, Praxagora is adept at righting the wrongs of the corrupt government. She does not encourage the rowdy drinking habits. “That’s why their decrees breathe of drunkenness and madness. And why libations, why so many ceremonies, if wine plays no portion in them” (Aristophanes 153-154)? Her concentrate is on equality and the higher excellent for the people of Athens who have unhappy for far too extended in a useless corrupt government and she will go to the lengths that she does in her male costume to bring the benefits of wealth and good results to all. Rather than stay a meek, obedient wife, she “will not easily let herself be deceived she understands deceit too properly herself” (Aristophanes 247-248) in the strength of her disguise and the arguments she brings to the Assembly to bring about a new political order.

Medea with her false tears and sugary praises, Judith with a tongue as sharp as the scimitar she requires to the exposed hollow of Holoferne’s throat, Paxagora with her stolen husband’s clothes and her false beard. Every of these ladies do not hide behind the cloak of their husbands but rather behind the strength of their plots and the sweet masks they put on before they strike down on these who have behaved unjustly towards them. They craft plans with keen intelligence no matter whether their final aim is murder or a alter in political systems. They do not shy away from a challenge or respond with boisterous anger. They preserve their false identities in the lies they tell, the disguises they put on, or the fake emotions they project. They weave very carefully by means of the forest towards accomplishment rather than cut and slash their way by means of with reckless wrath. Their cleaver use of disguises and deception demonstrate a determination to succeed, even when the odds of a patriarchal society, the power of noble families, and military force stand against them. Prematurely betraying the truth of their character or letting slip their true intentions would bring unspeakable punishments and there is courage to the high level of commitment in Paxagora’s manly mannerisms, Judith’s honeyed seduction, and Medea’s dramatic pleas for pity. The ladies of these performs mask themselves in makeup and kindness, dresses and deception. The lies they tell and the costumes they put on – literal and metaphorical – ultimately bring them victory. They ambitiously program their elaborate facades. They do not wait for respect and justice to be handed to them. Though the ultimate outcome of their plans might not always be completely advantageous towards them, every of these women go out and get the authority they have fought for and deserve. Medea, Judith, and Paxagora armed with costumes, false feelings, and clever lies succeed in their own person tasks, despite an unfair society that actively seeks to limit the scope of their power.
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