Essay about The Role of Minor Characters in Medea by Euripides

Decent Essays
As the famous Greek playwright Euripides once said: “Stronger than lover's love is lover's hate. Incurable, in each, the wounds they make.” Such ideas are portrayed in one of him most famous plays, Medea. This play is a fascinating classic centered on the Greek goddess Medea. Despite its recent fame, during his time, Euripides was unpopular since he used what would be considered a ‘modern’ view where he would focus on women, slaves and persons from the lower classes. In the play, Medea commits filicide, which initially appears extremely horrendous, but as the audience is guided through the play, they develop sympathy towards Medea. In order to achieve this empathy and enhance the understanding of Medea’s pride and ideals, Euripides…show more content…
The Nurse is also presented as Medea’s old friends even though she is a slave while Medea is goddess. This representation of a friendship, which crosses social boundaries, makes Medea seem fair and unbiased towards social classes unlike most typical characters in this era where the social clashes would represent a huge problem.
Although the Children are not active characters, they still give us much insight into Medea’s character. Despite the children’s fundamental role in the play, they are rarely seen on the stage and have very few lines. This may be due to the fact that children are very hard to control on stage, in most cases they simply do not have the level of discipline required to act. Euripides makes up for this by manifesting the presence of the children by always referring to them through other characters.
All of these minor characters encourage sympathy from the audience. The Chorus portrays their compassion towards Medea as they say, “I heard her voice, I heard that unhappy woman from Colchis” (p.21), they chiefly portray the extreme sadness and discontent which Medea experiences and the extent of passion she has towards Jason. Similarly, when the Nurse indirectly introduces Medea she first describes her by saying:
But now her world has turned to enmity, and wounds her
Where her affection’s deepest. Jason has betrayed
His own sons, and my mistress, for a royal bed,
For alliance with the king of
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