Why does she feel the need to go further? Medea uses the excuse that they won’t be killed “by another hand less kindly than them” but “the children are his property, an extension of himself, of his identity … the children are his successors, representing his continued presence in the world.” (65) Medea’s decision to murder her children can be seen as a ‘sublime’ act, as she puts her desire for vengeance and justice above her own feelings. It can be said that choosing the pain or suffering that you will endure is recognition of your own free will. Medea was aware she was being exiled and she had already lost her husband, thus by choosing to kill her children she was regaining control of her situation. Furthermore, she represents the women in her community, who are viewed as second-class citizens. “The way that Medea – and, she argues, all women – is positioned as an outsider, an ‘exile’ to the governing categories of Greek life, is a deeper, more permanent isolation” than her exile. The Chorus, a vital part of a tragedy according to Aristotle, describe a world where men will be known for deception & women will be honoured, representing a reversal of presumed
Many of Medea’s actions, which offend the gods, and the subsequent consequences for such actions throughout the story exhibit the “Divine Double Blind” concept. Medea starts off by offending the gods when, according to Jason, Medea’s husband, she “slaughtered [her] brother in [her] home” (81), and then, as is explained by the nurse, Medea’s servant, she causes Pelias’ daughter to kill their father (32). Medea’s first misdeed is thus murder, and although it is through Medea’s actions that these crimes are committed, because the gods control all the mortals, the gods are actually the ones who made her do them. Sticking with the “Divine Double Blind” concept, the gods punish Medea by having her marriage to Jason fall apart. The nurse recites that “their fine love’s grown sick, diseased, for Jason . . . married the daughter of king Creon” (32). Jason has neglected Medea and married another woman, which Medea responds to with rage. She kills again, this time targeting Jason’s new wife and her father, King Creon.
Knowing that Creon wants her to leave immediately, Medea begs and pleads with Creon to allow her to stay one more night so that she can get her belongings ready. Creon knows that Medea is wicked and says I am afraid of you and You are a clever woman, versed in evil arts. Such knowledge foreshadows what is to occur. Yet Medea is still able to convince Creon to go against his own instincts and allow her to stay. She is able to cleverly play on his conscience by convincing him to pity her situation of having no husband and nowhere to go. Such an accomplishment shows now cunning and deceptive Medea s character is. There is also irony in that Medea convinces Creon to trust her, but instead she kills him and his family. This betrayal of others emotions and trust further shows Medea s deceptive character. Then, Medea goes on to describe images of how she will kill her husband and the royal family. She actually contemplates on whether she should set fire underneath their bridal mansion, or sharpen a sward and thrust it to the heart. Such bizarre thoughts show her wicked and revengeful nature. Then she realizes that if she were to break into the house she might get caught, and this shows that she is a methodical person. Also, the tone within this episode evolves from being pathetic at first to eventually sinister. This shift in tone and mood coincides with the transformation of the character Medea. At the beginning of this episode the audience still has pity for her situation and feels that she is a compassionate women, but by the end her evil side surfaces and she is consumed by hate and
The play Medea by Euripides challenges the dominant views of femininity in the patriarchal society of the Greeks. While pursuing her ambition Medea disregards many of the feminine stereotypes/ characteristics of the patriarchal Greek society. She questions the inequality of women in a patriarchal society, contradicts Jason?s chauvinist beliefs, challenges the stereotype that women are weak and passive and completely disregards the feminine role of motherhood. Feminism is the belief that women and men are, and have been, treated differently by society, and that women have frequently and systematically been unable to participate fully in all social arenas and institutions. This belief is confirmed in
In Euripides' play the title role and focus of the play is the foreign witch Medea. Treated differently through the play by different people and at different times, she adapts and changes her character, finally triumphing over her hated husband Jason. She can feasibly be seen as a mortal woman, Aristotle's tragic hero figure and even as an exulted goddess.
She helped him in every way possible in his quest for the Golden Fleece, “Her heart on fire with passionate love for Jason... But now there’s hatred everywhere. Love is diseased.” (1) However, in a tragedy, the hero is supposed to make a single mistake which ultimately leads to their downfall. In this case, Medea is not a heroic character as she is a sorceress, murders her brother, and her own children. The hamartia is intended to bring down a character of high morality, but Medea can be viewed as a wholly evil character who is not guided by any moral principles. She is also manipulative and deceptive in the way that she treats the men around her, Creon, Aegeus, and Jason, while involving them in her plan for revenge. Euripides has shown this aspect of her personality through lines such as “Do you think that I would have fawned on that man unless I had some end to gain or profit in it?” (12) and “by a trick I may kill the king’s daughter” (25)
Charlotte Bronte once said, “Women are supposed to be very calm generally, but women feel just as men feel. They need exercise for their faculties, and a field for their efforts as much as their brothers do. They suffer from too rigid a restraint, too absolute a stagnation, precisely as men would suffer; and it is narrow minded in their more privileged fellow creatures to say that they ought to confine themselves to making puddings and knitting stockings, to playing on the piano and embroidering bags”. In the play Medea, Euripides diverged from the traditional role of Greek women through Medea’s characteristics and response to her plight. In delineating the role of women, Medea was unlike any other Greek character. Medea was portrayed
Ayala Gabriel, author of “Living with Medea and Thinking after Freud: Greek Drama, Gender, and Concealments,” states that “Euripides uncovers an intricate relationship between gender and universalistic and particularistic principles.” Frequently throughout the play, Medea puts traditional gender roles to the test, and often to her own advantage. For instance, on pages 497 through 499 of “The Greek Plays,” Medea can be seen talking with Creon. At this particular time in the play, she and her sons are about to be thrown out of Corinth. At one point she grabs Creon’s knees and begs to let them stay, saying “Let me stay just one more day. Let me finish planning our exile, find refuge for my children. (499)” She knows that Creon has children of his own, whom he loves very much, and uses that to her advantage, because it could be his own children in Medea’s current situation. Her demeanor changes after he leaves and she begins to plot her revenge with “He gave me one more day―one day in which to make corpses of three enemies: the father, his daughter, and my husband (500).” Later in the play she decides to summon Jason (her husband) and tell him that she sees why his new marriage was a good idea, and will ask if their children can remain with him. In order to sweeten the deal, she will give him a robe and a golden crown to give to his new
Revenge is a kind of wild justice. Throughout many texts, the notion of justice has been debated on whether it is an act that vindicates those who have been wronged or an excuse to pursue revenge. Through Medea, Medea’s actions have been judged and criticised whether her murders are an act of justice that she deserves or simply the idea of inflicting pain on those she loathes.
Soon after this, Medea is able to manipulate Creon as well. When Creon banishes her, she tells him of her great concern for her children and eventually convinces him to allow her to stay in Corinth for one more day. This allows Medea to continue with her plan to take out revenge on Jason. Medea acts and speaks like a Homeric Greek warrior, but tricks Jason by acting submissively like the ideal Greek woman Jason wished her to be. Medea approaches Jason with gifts for his new wife, apologizes, and tells him that she realized he was right. This move allowed Medea to remove all skepticism from Jason's mind, and he willingly took the poisoned dress to his bride. In the course of a few hours, Medea's ultimate manipulation skills enable her to exploit four individuals who are crucial to her murder plot.
In her conversation with King Creon, Medea shows her ability to speak her mind. For example, Medea says, “ If you try to bring new wisdom to fools, the fools are furious; if your mind matches the minds of the city’s intellectuals then they’re threatened. But you, Creon you are afraid. Why is that? What damage can I do? I am no insurrectionist, no insurgent against the state” (Euripides 19:20). This quote shows Medea’s courage to defend herself against an authoritative, male figure. During this time, women had no voice. Becnel says, “A woman, married or single, had no vote, no voice in government, could not speak in court — even in her own defense — and was not allowed to conduct financial transactions” (Becnel). This quote shows how strong Medea is portrayed as a woman to speak up during the ancient world. Medea eventually convinces King Creon to let her stay another day. Through this McClure states, “Combined with more traditional feminine means of persuasion, such as supplication, Medea’s blame discourse wins the sympathy of the female chorus and persuades her powerful male interlocutors-Creon, Aegeus, and Jason- to do her bidding. Through these verbal performances, Medea gains control of her opponents” (McClure 373). This quote represents how persuasive Medea’s voice is that she overpowers the males in a male dominant society. Overall, this quality furthers her separation from the rest of
Making Medea plot against the king represents the female group as rebellious and unsubmissive to authority. She vows to kill her children and this causes the chorus to be afraid of her. That was a big thing. The Chorus in Greek theater “represented with wonderful truth the Greek inquisitive crowd, and was essentially Athenian in conduct and in spirit” (Lauchlan 13-17). So to have the Chorus afraid of this “evil” woman portrays the general public’s feelings towards Medea. Therefore, the fear of the other characters due to Medea’s immense desire and actions for bloodshed and revenge shows how women are portrayed as crazy and murderous with no sense of empathy. Now, the killing of her children is an interesting strategy that Euripides used to show his misogynistic values. By adding this to the plot and making Medea come up with this plan all by herself shows how Euripides “constructed his character in such a way that the audience will be encouraged to perceive female sexuality and language as… a threat to male offspring” (Rabinowitz 126). This is a genius ultimate blow to feminism seeing that women, through Medea, are portrayed as a threat to not only men but to their offspring.
To conclude, Medea’s actions can be seen an act of desperation from her side, as she realises that her functional life in Greece is practically over: she is a woman with no man, therefore no rights. Although through her barbaric background and natural cunningness, she forges a plan to escape this miserable prospect of her life, her actions, as terrible and inhumane as they are, empower her to free herself from her discriminating