Ritual in Drama
Some analysis privileges the practices of sacrifice, marriage, and agriculture, and the homologies among women show how the proper performance of Greek culture guarantees a healthy community and the maintenance of productive relationships among gods, mortals, and animals. The study of the representation of women in Greek drama, like the representation of ritual, has expanded exponentially in the last two or more decades. In the earlier part of this century, Athenian plays were simply quarried for what they could be made to say about a generalized “status” or “position” of women. Several explanations might be adduced for why Greek drama displays so many memorable females. One possible answer would be that drama in fifth-century Athens is a radical genre that challenges social norms and exposes the constructed nature of gender identity, and, in particular, of female inferiority, by mobilizing female characters who actively resist the identifications offered by their culture.
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