Euripides Brings Women to the Stage

But How Does the Famous Writer Really Feel About Them?

Here's what we found out about the famous poet!

Euripides is the first to introduce women to the stage, but he is far from complimentary to the other sex, the result, probably, of his two unhappy marriages. He made Hippolytus express his opinion of womankind:


O Zeus, why hast thou brought into the world

To plague us such a tricksy thing as woman?

If thou didst wish to propagate mankind,

Couldst thou not find some better way than this?

We to the temples might have brought our price

In gold or weight of iron or of brass,

And purchased offspring, each to the amount

Of that which he has paid; and so have dwelt

In quiet homes unvexed of womankind.

Now, to import a plague into our homes,

First of our substance we make sacrifice,

And here at once we see what woman is.

The father that begot her gladly pays

A dowry that he might be rid of her,

While he may bring this slip of evil home.

Fond man adorns with costly ornament

A worthless idol, and his living wastes

To trick her out in costly finery.

Ha has no choice. Are his connections good,

To keep them he must keep a hated wife;

Are his connections bad, he can but weigh

Against that evil a good bedfellow.

His is the easiest lot who has to wife

A cipher, a good-natured simpleton;

Quick wits are hateful. Ne'er may wife of mine

Be wiser than consorts with womanhood.

In your quick-witted dames the power of love

More wickedness engenders; while the dull

Are by their dullness saved from going wrong.


This is sufficiently bitter, but nor more so the words which Euripides is accustomed to use when speaking to women.