Lisbeth Salander; Gone Girl‘s Amy Elliott-Dunne; Rachel Watson from The Girl on the Train: these are just a few of the latest in a long line of compelling antiheroines stretching back to the dawn of literature. Here are some of our favorites from the past few millennia.
For all their democratic ideals, the Ancient Athenians had a terror of strong women. Witness Medea. Was Jason madly in love with her, or was it just her Golden Fleece? He learns the hard way not to leave a witch in the lurch. For two strikingly different modern takes, try Crista Wolf’s Medea: A Modern Retelling or David Vann’s Bright Air Black. And then there’s Clytemnestra. Aeschylus’ play may be called Agamemnon, but it is his bloodthirsty wife-cum-widow who steals the show. To be fair, her husband sacrificed their daughter, and then went away for a decade; it was never going to be a warm homecoming. Colm Tóibín provides a haunting, poetic retelling in The House of Names. Continue reading “Beyond “Bad Girls” – Great Antiheroines of Literature”