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Comparison of Dido and Medea Essay

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The Roles of Dido and Medea; A Comparison of Cultures

Women in the ancient world did not have the rights or status as we do today. They were looked upon as possessions or property. For a woman to be strong or be allowed to hold a position of power was something that was unheard of. Medea and Dido were two very strong and powerful women, however each lived in slightly different cultures. Their choices in how they chose to wield their power gives us a small insight on the differences in cultural lifestyles between the two women and the worlds they lived in.

Medea was not the typical woman that we would see in Greek society. She was a master of the art of manipulation, shrewd, and possessed a bit of masculinity in her
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Many of these rulers wished to marry Dido, however she chose to remain loyal to her late husband’s memory and refused to remarry. This gave her a good reputation among the other leaders as well as her people. When she chose to pursue a relationship with Aeneas, she lost her stature. The other leaders were angry that she chose Aeneas over them. Her people were angry that she would engage in such an inappropriate act. She gave up everything for Aeneas, who in the end chose to leave her behind. Overcome with emotion, Dido committed suicide. She shows weakness in this decision. She fell into the typical stereotypical view of a Roman woman, weak and unable to make decisions.

Both characters stood out from their typical social stereotypes. Medea was strong, which was not common for the standard Greek woman. Dido started out as a great Queen, a rarity in Roman culture. Both women made decisions that ultimately affected how they were viewed. In my opinion Dido was the weaker of the two women. She chose to end her life instead of trying to regain what she had lost. Medea was determined not to lose who she was even though she had been horribly wronged. The two characters were created to be standout in both Greek and Roman
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