From the beginning of the play the conflict between good and bad where Medea and Jason are concerned has been ambiguous. Both characters have done terrible things in order to attain what they want. Nothing could stand in the way of them including Medea’s father, whom Medea betrayed and to pile on the grieve she kills her brother and drops parts of him into the sea so as to delay her father thereby ensuring that Jason and his Argonauts could fulfil their quest to attain the Golden Fleece. When Jason betrays Medea and walks away from their marriage we immediately identify him as the villain, yet the reader fails to understand that during that time when this play was written it was still socially acceptable for the man to walk away from his marriage provided he gives back the dowry he attained from the wife’s father. In this case Medea did not bring any such items so it was even easier for him to leave her so as to empower himself. It was Medea’s role as a woman belonging to that age to accept Jason’s decision however she feels betrayed that he would break a vow made in front of the gods, and apparently she was not a regular woman even by the standards of that time as she had an intellect that could rival that of scholarly men. So to exact her revenge she destroys everything Jason loves leaving him to regret ever betraying the marriage.
Once he began manipulating Medea, this made him realize, that he can manipulate anyone he chooses to. After he had captured the Golden Fleece, he abandoned Medea and married the princess of Corinth hoping to stable his wealth and gain more power. He, in turn, manipulated the royal family only to have the consistent power he needed and desired. This had then begun to escalate. Jason is now displaying a pattern of his manipulation. As Jason begins to free himself from his “evil” ex-wife, Jason manipulates the past into a lie and much bigger problem from his side of the story. His dishonesty makes his side of the story more believable and by doing so, his manipulation skills had become more deceivable. Jason is in denial of the many things Medea had done for him and when he told his story, he used omission in order to deceive his listeners. Jason then says, “Dark threats cast out against the majesties/ of Corinth, count as veriest gain thy path of exile.” (27). He then blames Medea and having Creon ban her from Corinth.
For Medea must fall in love with Jason and then she will use her great skill with magic to help Jason acquire the fleece. Because of Hera’s hatred towards Pelias Medea’s life is now destined for extreme agony, shame, and guilt. Her love for Jason causes her to tear away from her loving parents and dishonor her father by helping his enemy. Hera’s plan to avenge Pelias also flood Medea’s head with thoughts to keep her from straying from Hera’s plan. Unfortunately for Medea her decision to help Jason was not her own and was a careful thought out plan by Hera. Her life would never again be the same. Even though Jason promises to love her always and promises that she will be his wedded wife, he breaks this promise as soon as she become old and he is given the opportunity to marry royalty. Medea decisions were not in any way wise but if it were not for the arrows of Eros she would have had better judgment on the stranger. Medea’s behavior in this story shows that of loyalty and confusion in her heart. She is in agony because she can not conceive as to why she feels so much love for a stranger and does not wish to dishonor her father by doing so. But then she is constantly
Once she learns that Jason has married another woman, Medea's personality turns completely around. The strong loving wife turns into a barbarian huntress in search of revenge. After plotting and changing the course of her revenge a few times, she perpetrates an attack that will certainly kill the new bride. Her method is focused on the woman, but it may or may not affect others around her target. Medea knows that the poisoned dress and head adornment will be lethal to Jason's bride, but she cannot possibly know what will come of Jason, their children, or the king. Her rage knows no bounds and she sends Antigone and Ismene on with the poisoned gifts. Weigel describes the revenge of Medea in his critique of the writing: "Jason becomes entangled with a force that crushes his dignity and detachment, that tears his successes to tatters. At the end he is in exactly the same position as Medea. Both are bereaved of mate, children, and friends. Both are free to grow old without comfort. And both are utterly empty inside, except that Jason is now filled with the same burning hatred that possessed Medea" (Weigel 1391).
The major trait that leads to Jason’s downfall is his overwhelming pride. Medea knows she can use his ego against him and says, “I have reproached myself. ‘Fool’, I said, ‘why am I so mad?’” (p.53). Medea toys with Jason’s need to be above others and always right. Jason doesn’t even think twice about Medea’s sudden change to a servile attitude and accepts how her “mind has turned to better reasoning” (p.54). The arrogance of Jason makes him blind to what is happening around him. Medea is obviously manipulating this weakness to work to her just like how everything works for her: the children work to kill the bride and the deaths work to exact revenge upon Jason.
To make things worse, if a woman tries to leave the husband, “then she loses her virtuous reputation.” Meanwhile, a man can change his mind whenever he wants to and do as he pleases. A man can find comfort in his friends while women have to rely on themselves. Medea is suffering so much living in a society like this that she even goes to say that even though men are seen as the protectors of women by battling while women “lead safe, untroubled lives at home,” she would much rather have a man’s role rather than a woman’s role in such society.
In the beginning of the play, the nurse discusses the horrible deeds Medea delivers to her own family in the following lines “my mistress Medea would not have sailed for the towers of the land of Iolcus, her heart on fire with passionate love for Jason; nor would she have persuaded the daughters of Pelias to kill their father, and now be living here in Corinth with her husband and children” (1). Ironically, before Jason leaves Medea, he needs her help in a great mission. By admitting that he needs her help, Jason falls short of the idea that a man is in control of the situation.
There are also parts in the play where one may begin to have an understanding of Jason’s motives. In Jason’s first argumentative speech to Medea, he claims that money, possessions and social status is of no importance to him. He declares that his choice to marry the royal Glauce is of good intention, not merely because he is bored with Medea’s bed. Later, when Medea begs Jason to forgive her for her foolishness, he shows kindness and understanding towards her. After all that Medea said about him and his new wife-to-be, Glauce, he states that he is still willing to provide Medea and their sons with anything they may need. Medea pleads for Jason to convince Creon to let their sons stay in Corinth and Jason agrees to try to convince both Creon and Glauce to allow the boys to stay. Jason is still compassionate, showing at least some loyalty to Medea and his family. At the very end of the play, after Medea has killed Glauce, Creon and their two sons, Jason admits that she has ‘destroyed’ him. Jason is completely shattered; everything has been ripped away from him. It’s also unfair when Medea refuses to let Jason bury and mourn the bodies of their sons. Some may feel it is impossible to feel no sympathy for him.
revenge on Jason by any means possible. Euripides voiced the fear of her cunning mind through Kreon when he said "I am afraid of you [...] Afraid that you may injure my daughter mortally. [...] You are a clever woman, versed in evil arts, and are angry at having lost your husband's love." (280-284, pg 622) The fact that a male character would say something of this caliber says something about the roles of women during this time. Even though they are still seen as second class citizens to the men, a smart woman is feared. Ultimately Medea's strength is tested and she becomes crazed with
Moreover, Euripides incorporates Medea into the relationship to convey the idea that females also possess power in an alliance, but the form of their authority is different compared to that of a male’s. Medea elucidates that even in arduous times, she assists Jason and supports their marriage. In a direct conversation with Jason, she tells him, “…after I’ve done all this to help you, you brute, you betray me…” (27). She explains that although she took care of Jason and supported him whenever he needed her help, he disabuses his power to overpower her and abandon her. Even after Jason abandons Medea, she thinks day and night of him. Medea demonstrates that the power females possess is not physical and totalitarian like the males, but rather is emotional and mental. She tries to keep the family together and in trying to do so, she does whatever Jason asks her to do. She is the important woman behind every successful man. Without her command, Jason would not be the person he is. Therefore, she can destroy Jason whenever she desires with her power. She can be a femme fatale and reduce Jason’s life to rubbles. Similarly, after Medea finds out that she is being cheated on, she quickly creates a malicious plan to obliterate Jason. She assassinates his new wife and his heirs. Although her love is “greater than
Medea was a troubled soul once Jason left her for a younger princess. When the nurse says “Rulers are fierce in their temperament; somehow, they will not be governed;”, it rings very true of Medea (Puchner 531). Someone so accustomed to getting her way will by no means let anyone, including her beloved Jason, treat her with any disrespect. She not only felt dejected by Jason, but she felt she could do nothing to change her circumstance but take out deadly vengeance against those that committed such a hiatus act towards her. With all things considered, Medea felt Jason took everything from her when he left. Jason became her everything. When she
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.
Unfortunately, Medea was not the type of woman to turn the other cheek and leave vengeances to her God. Medea not only took faith in her hands, she mindfully concocted a plan that consist of poisoning Jason new wife, but also destroying their kids in
Though Jason knows his children will leave him, he still makes sure he provides them with a little assurance so they do not initially suffer after they leave him.
In total, Jason illustrates that he is the alpha lion, and that his power will only affect his relationship based on how he uses his power.