Publication Date



College of Arts and Sciences




Aeschylus, Agamemnon, Clytemnestra, Euripides, Medea, Sophocles, Antigone, Aristophanes, Lysistrata, Women, Gender Roles, Athens, Classical Greek Drama, polis


Ancient History, Greek and Roman through Late Antiquity | Classical Literature and Philology | Cultural History | Women's History | Women's Studies


The portrayal of women in Ancient Greek drama seems at times opposed to the societal gender roles within Classical Athens. In the plays, women are strong and dynamic figures who enact change and upheaval in their world. Ancient dramas, like Agamemnon, Medea, Antigone, and Lysistrata, portrayed women with strong autonomy and minds which matched their male counterparts; whereas the women in Classical Athens found themselves in more limited circumstances. In analyzing the nature of these disparities, it seems that the constant factor is that the plays concern the violation of the household. The female characters respond in one of two ways: perpetuating the violation for the sake of vengeance or stepping into the masculine role to fill the need left by the men.