An Analysis of the Play Medea by Euripides

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The notion of the ideal man presented in the play Medea, by Euripides, is an exceptionally important one in the context of 5th Century Athens, a culture based very much upon the importance of the man both in his household and the general society. In Greece during the time of the play, the ideal man showed strong attributes of physical skill and aesthetics, intelligence and wisdom, and courage and bravery, especially in the face of adversity. This representation is shown in many ways throughout the play, and in some aspects, it is greatly challenged, causing the audience to question his or her own morals and societal views. Although these representations are still important to today’s society, the effect they would have had on the Athenian…show more content…
Medea essentially fools Aigeus into swearing an oath to her, telling him only her side of the story of the situation between her and Jason, saying that he ‘Betrayed the wife and sons he used to love.’ Aigeus know that what he is doing is wrong, shown when he states ‘Find your own way to Athens. These people are allies. I won’t offend them.’ Aigeus’ motivations behind doing this are purely for his self benefit, not adhering to the honourable way at all, as Medea promised him sons if he aided in her escape. Euripides uses the tone of conversation to undercut Aigeus’s authority, showing him siding with Medea after only the most pitiful of explanations, as he states, “With Jason's full consent? I find that disgraceful”, expressing his feelings for Medea’s punishments. Euripides uses these strong words, such as disgraceful, to emphasize the change in the man’s manner so intensely. An Athenian society would see this as a betrayal of his people’s honour, and especially as he is an Athenian king, the audience would be even further shocked at Euripides’ open challenge to the credibility of Athens. Aspects of bravery and courage are shown strongly in this play, both in a positive and a negative light. The audience would view Jason as an obvious hero, defeating countless enemies in his quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece, and returning to Corinth
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