Document Type

Thesis

Publication Year

Spring 1997

Abstract

The difficulty of coupling motherhood with violence persistently hangs over portrayals of Medea. Artists, both male and female, from different periods and places have struggled with the combination and shown a tendency to suppress it. While we might shy away from the semiotic naturally to some extent, this is magnified when looking primarily at violence. It becomes too easy to equate violence with the semiotic, and to then label certain instances as avoidance of the semiotic which are really manifestations of our aversion toward violence. I have been looking for affirmations of Medea's violence, works which portrayed her violence along with her motherhood and femininity. While some works do so to a greater degree than others, the denial of her violence is not simply evidence of our suppression of the semiotic. It speaks to our society's views of womanhood, femininity, and violence itself, issues which are related to the semiotic but which do not alone define it.

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