I’m handling Gender and Women’s Literature this term, and lately I’ve been scouting for new movie materials as my study supplement. I had my students viewed ‘North Country’ and ‘Enough’ last year and those were good materials for gender analysis but I was thinking maybe I should look for some at least new ones this term.
I accidentally stumbled on this movie while I was accompanying my son amassing copies of Winnie the Pooh and –how I hated this character – Rabbit, at a makeshift DVD store here.
Reading the title, Agora, what I had in mind was this public market in Cagayan de Oro – well, that’s the only Agora I can relate to and not the Agora in Athens, lol.
The movie follows the life of Hypatia (370-415 AD) If you’re good at history, she was then a famous Greek Philosopher, Astronomer and Mathematician from Alexandria, Egypt. She was also famous for her expressiveness, eloquence and education. She was a teacher and advisor to many important pagans, Christians, Jews and Romans during her time.
But she was murdered because of some accusations that she has caused religious turmoil by her scientific reasons, some accounts suggest that it was caused by the strained relationship between the Imperial Prefect Orestes and the Christian Patriarch, Cyril.
The way how she died in the movie was quiet humane as she was stifled first to death by her student and later stoned to death, but some historical accounts suggest that Hypatia was seized while on her way home riding on her chariot, she was stripped naked, skinned alive, her flesh was scraped from her bones by oyster shell and set afire alive.
Arrrggg! What has she done to suffer such a brutal way to depart.
I was thinking hard at the end of the movie, my gosh, I’m not saying I’m at par with Hypatia, but as a woman and the way I live this kind of life now, I could have also been stoned and skinned alive.
If you’re a feminist, a budding one, into women’s studies, this movie is a very good material for analysis, how religion, how Christianity (at least to me) played a very vital and brutal role in suppressing and subjugating women. I must say, it actually started there, not the movie as it was a fictionalized portrayal of Hypatia’s life, but during that very period of Christian history.
This movie can be analyzed in many angles, but from the feminist point of view, it has conveyed that very vital point why women was subjected to private domain and should stay away from the assembly of men.
It could have been a relief if after the death of Hypatia the woman’s place in public space was restored to them, but unfortunately it has lasted even as of press time.
I’m feeling like an ant thinking, my gosh, that was how these white robed men started it all and dominated the lives of women even to the slightest point of me deciding whether to sleep with this man or not, left me with no choice but drop my family name legally over that piece of paper or I’m left with no social benefits at all.
Sorry about that … I got carried away…
If you wanted to know more about the life of Hypatia and the ‘reel vs real’ analysis of this movie visit THE HISTORIAN’S NOTEBOOK.