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Ancient Greek Women in Film$
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Konstantinos P. Nikoloutsos

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199678921

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199678921.001.0001

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Between Family and the Nation: Gorgo in the Cinema 1

Between Family and the Nation: Gorgo in the Cinema 1

(p.255) 11 Between Family and the Nation: Gorgo in the Cinema1
Ancient Greek Women in Film

Konstantinos P. Nikoloutsos

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the representation of Gorgo in two Hollywood productions, The 300 Spartans (1962, directed by Rudolph Maté) and 300 (2007, directed by Zack Snyder). It shows that both cinematic portraits are constructed in accordance with modern stereotypes of gender and sexuality, thereby offering visual testimony to the changes in attitudes to these issues in western societies in recent decades. In particular, it is argued that while Gorgo's domestication in Maté's film is in full agreement with the U.S. ideology of Containment during the Cold War period, her alignment with the rhetoric of politicized womanhood in 300 reproduces a binarism central to post-September 11 American imagination, that between the liberal white West and the oppressive Muslim Orient. Both films project an anachronistic picture of ancient Sparta on screen by casting her ‘first lad’ as an iconic wife, mother, and queen — a woman who matches King Leonidas in loyalty, patriotism, and intelligence.

Keywords:   Gorgo, ancient Sparta on screen, Containment, Cold War, Rudolph Maté, Zack Snyder, The 300 Spartans, 300

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