The Use and Abuse of Power by the Female Protagonists in Strindberg's Miss Julie and Euripides' Medea

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Miss Julie by Strindberg and Medea by Euripides explore the theme of power struggle. Julie, the Count’s daughter, was raised by a mother who hated men; Strindberg hence presents a confused character who struggles with her sexual desire for men juxtaposing with her need to dominate them. She feels compelled to use her social status when dealing with Jean. Medea, on the other hand, is presented as a brave, unpredictable, almost barbaric woman of extremes; she has committed several crimes on her husband’s behalf. Medea is constantly associated with images of extreme passion be it love, hatred or rage, and it is through the expression of these extremes that the audience becomes familiar with her persona. When she learns of her husband 's…show more content…
This fluctuation of her need for and rejection of Jean may be indicative of insecurity and loss resulting from her traumatic upbringing and again, having been rejected by one of her social class; this could account for her need to regain power. Medea’s irrational behaviour is also due to her loss of power and control caused by her husband, Jason, who abandoned her and married Glauce, princess of Corinth. The Nurse explains this in her opening speech; “Medea rages at her loss of honour”[6]. Medea declares that Jason’s betrayal comes at the expense of her social status, home, dignity, and security; she claims to be “alone…stateless, dishonored by (my) husband” [7]Medea 's fury knows no limit as evidenced when she mentions, “Cursed boys, I wish you dead, your father too”3 in line 103; she is determined to seek revenge whatever the cost, and revenge is the murder her and Jason’s sons. Because they are precious to Jason, she will deprive him of them and resultantly destroy and triumph over him. She has all the means to carry out her hideous crime “with such deadly poisons”[8]. Medea despises Jason’s ingratitude that seems to have forgotten that she murdered her brother and was involved in the murder of Pelias for Jason 's benefit.

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