Watching this past weekend the pulitzer prize winning play, “Crimes of the Heart” at Everyman theater, I was struck by the the youngest sister’s Babe’s realization in the final act. Babe’s mother had committed suicide, hanging her cat along with her. In the last act, after attempted suicide herself, Babe exclaims she understands why “mama hung the cat along with her. Because didn’t want to die alone!”
I think this relates to the Greek Women I have been reading in Euripedes. The fear of being left alone is a driving force for Phaedra and Medea. For, once the Nurse has told of her love to Hippolytus, Phaedra’s “Cretan home” and “children” will be dishonored. Phaedra herself faces abandonment from her birth home, her children, her husband – leaving her utterly alone in society. When one consider’s Medea’s circumstance, it is such aloneness that also drives her to murderous deeds, for without her husband, she is captive away from her mother, brother and kinsman”.
As Beth exclaims in “Crimes of the Heart”, all women have bad days. However it appears in ancient Greece, a women’s bad day was magnified under the fact that she had to endure it all by herself. After all, after having a bad day, isn’t one of the first things you want to do is tell someone about it?