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Classically, women playwrights are almost completely absent. There were virtually no women writers at all up until at least the seventeenth century. This fact originally led feminist critics to disregard the classical period. In an article titled “Classical Drag: The Greek Creation of Female Parts,” Sue Ellen Case states that because “traditional scholarship has focused on evidence related to written texts, the absence of women playwrights became central to early feminist investigations” (132). Despite this absence of female writers, feminist critics analyze the role of women in ancient Greece in other ways. Recently, feminist writers have been able to delve further into the classical period by examining female characters from the works of male playwrights.
The construction of women in male literature is extremely important. Peter Barry, in his chapter on feminist literary criticism in his book Beginning Theory: An Introduction to Literary and Cultural Theory, asserts that observing the female characters in works by men is important because it provides “role models which indicated…