In ancient times, equal treatm…

December 8, 2018 Law

In ancient times, equal treatment of women was not a public concern, as women had very low social status. Back then, women stayed at home, did housework and took care of children. Most of the creative or challenging work was done by men. This was the same for Ancient Rome. Women were not protected under law if they were raped. Worse, they had no option but to marry the rapist. Eunuch the play showed this cruelty in its script and gave its readers an opportunity to understand the status of women in Ancient Rome. In Eunuch, Chaerea is from a very rich family who fell in love at first sight of Pamphila, a beautiful young lady who was thought of as a slave but was indeed a free citizen. Chaerea exchanged his clothes with the new eunuch for raped Pamphila as he approached her. At the end of the story, Chaerea got no punishment and married Pamphila. This paper analyzes how the main characters in Eunuch reacted to the rape, thus to provide concrete examples of the low social status of women in Ancient Rome. The main character Phaedria was the brother of Chaerea. Although Phaedria was furious about the rape, but he only lashed out on Doruis the new eunuch, who was mistakenly thought of as the rapist. Phaedria yelled at Doruis: “Come out here, you monster! Hey, are you still resisting me, you runaways? Come on out, your lousy bargain!” However, when Pythias told him it was his brother that raped the girl, he backed off and commented: “come one, you wild animal, do you believe what this guy’s saying?” Phaedria’s contrasting attitudes were very telling. For him, it was more important to protect his brother although he was shocked about the rape. Even if back then, the status of eunuch was not high, he did not threaten to punish Doruis in his first reaction. If Ancient Rome did not have the social norm of having the rapist marry whom he raped, Phaedria’s reactions may have been different. For him, since he was aware Pamphila was a free citizen, he was not concerned about the rape. He knew eventually Pamphila and Chaerea would get married, which kept him silent about the rape.Phaedria’s slave Pamero was the accomplice in this rape. When he first heard Chearea fall in love with Pamphila, he told Chearea a new eunuch would stay with the beautiful girl alone. Hence, Chearea could “take his outfit” and Pheadria would “take you over there instead of [the eunuch]”. Parmeno even advised Chearea “take you over there instead of him” to get close to the girl alone so that he could rape her. Parmeno felt no guilt or fear of what he suggested. He said to Chearea that “watch out that it doesn’t get too hot.” Pamero, as a male slave in Ancient Rome, is in a very unique position from his reaction. He considered rape to be acceptable because Chearea is from a rich family. He must have seen in the past when rapists marry the lady they raped. Hence, he considered it normal practices. Parmeno was not the only one who knew about the rape before it happened. Antipho was also aware of Chearea’s plan. At dinner, Antipho sensed Chaerea to be very suspicious. Cheares arranged a big dinner and party for his friends. However, he was missing during the dinner. Antipho came outside and looked for him. I think Antipho would be the most indifferent people in the whole story since he only cared about his friend. In the play, Antipho asked “Was that safe enough?” He only cared about whether Chaerea could safely rape Pamphila. Also, he was very pitiful of his friends and said, “poor you” because Antipho think Chaerea is from upper-class. It seemed he sacrifice his dignity a lot to stay with the girl in a place which for eunuch. Antipho only cared about if Chaerea would be safe when he stayed in the place for eunuch and slaves. When he heard about the plans of Chaerea, he even never felt it is a guilty for Pamphila and never stopped his good friend.Although the main female characters were very angry, they did not confront the males. Thais was supposed to be Pamphila’s owner, and after she heard about the rape, she kept blaming her maid Pythias for not taking care of the situation beforehand. She said: “what are you saying, you outlaw? Didn’t I specifically warn you about this, when I was going off?” Thais’s maid Pythias was also very angry about what the rapist did and cursed the rapist several times in the play like “if he were handed over to me, I’d fly right at his eyes with my nails-that snake!” Thais and Phythias both were for justice, but they only expressed their anger from their words but did nothing to help Pamphila. The father of Phaedria was in the last of the play. When he heard about what Chearea did, he was angrier about Chearea dressing up in a eunuch and “in place of the eunuch” than the rape. The father thought eunuch was such low class that he could not tolerate his son staying in their place. The father did not say a word about the rape. Moreover, the brother of Pamphila from the upper class called Chremes showed no concern about what Chearea did to his sister. In the end, Chearea married Phamphila without any punishment from law or from the people. This marriage was very unfair for the poor girl, as she could not revolt the rape from a stranger, nor did she have another option. Thias and Phthias may have felt powerless in the situation, so they kept cursing about the rapist and blaming each other. For the father, Phaedria, and Antipho, they three cared about their son, brother or friend but never blamed him for committing such a crime. For Parmeno who was the accomplice of whole the things. He encouraged the rape in a very direct way. From the story, we can see women really have a low status in Ancient Rome. People could do anything to women and the criminal even get no punishment when they committed the crime. Although people blame in the sense of moral, but there would have no one would stand out of it and do anything for the girl. People are very indifferent to the grievance of women. In addition, the people in the play never thought about to use the law to help the girl, so that we can see there were no laws to protect women’s rights in Ancient Rome.

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