non sibi sed toti

Classics Teaching Resources

What about women?

If all the actors were men, did that mean that there were no plays about women?

Not at all! The actors were able to act women as well as men. Some actors were famous for acting women. There is a painting on a Greek vase showing an actor holding a mask with a woman's face and hair.

Four famous Greek plays about women are:

  1. Antigone, by Sophocles. Antigone was a brave young woman who buried the body of her dear brother, even when the King said the body must not be buried. For more about Antigone, and a link to the full text, click here.
  2. Medea, by Euripides (born about 485 BC, died about 406 BC). Medea was a princess who could work magic, and took a terrible revenge on her husband Jason when he went off with another woman. For more about Medea, and a link to the full text, click here.
  3. Electra by Sophocles
  4. and - Electra by Euripides. Both these great writers wrote plays about Electra, whose mother had killed Electra's father. In these plays Electra and her brother Orestes get their own back on their mother. Aeschylus wrote a play about the same story, but he did not call it 'Electra.' He called it 'Choephoroi' meaning 'Girls bringing offerings.'

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