Medea by Euripides

Thought I'd share this resource I made, it's all about Medea by Euripides. It has a brief plot, themes and quotes to support these themes and character analysis. Thanks.

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  • Created on: 19-10-12 10:58
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Medea by Euripides
Medea is in dire straits, her husband has left her for a princess ­ and her father, Creon, has banished
her from Corinth. Medea does not take this lying down, and hatches a plan to murder them all. She
manages to get Creon to let her stay one last night this is against his better judgement, but feels sorry
for her sons. She manages to secure a place to retreat in Athens, by promising to cure King Aegeus'
sterility. She gets Jason to believe she is happy with his new marriage, and gives a gift for Glauke ­
which is cursed and Glauke and Creon die. She then goes on to murder her and Jason's two children.
Jason arrives too late to stop this, and begs Medea to let him bury their bodies, Medea denies his
even this. The two curse each other and Medea flies away triumphant.
Women and Femininity
Medea criticises the maledominated society of its time. Its protagonist is a radical antiheroine who
continues to inspire both admiration and fear. We sympathise with Medea's downtrodden state and
applaud her strength and intelligence. However, her bloody and vengeful rebellion shocks and
unsettles audiences even in this day. The play can be seen as a cautionary tale to oppressors and
well as the oppressed.
Medea: "Of all the creatures that can feel and think, we women are the worst treated things alive."
Euripides boldly states the central theme of the play: the sorry state of women in Ancient Greece.
Medea: "We bid the highest price in dowries just to buy some men to be the dictator of our bodies ...
how that compounds the wrong!"
Medea's outrage is more than justified. Women were basically bought and sold like cattle.
Medea: "Divorce is a disgrace (at least for women), to repudiate the man, not possible."
Women were in some way prisoners, if they were mistreated by a man there was no escape route, if
they left him they would be rejected by society.
Medea: "Will any man afford me home in a country safe for living?"
Even a woman as powerful as Medea feels the need to be protected by a man. The fact she still
wants a man around shows how deeply entrenched Medea is in patriarchy.
Chorus: "One day the story will change: then shall the glory of women resound reversing at last the
sad reputation of ladies"
The chorus seems to be almost sounding a battle cry for a feminist revolution.
Chorus: "Wouldn't I have raised up a feminine paean to answer the epic of men?"
The chorus is pointing out that their culture's depictions of women have all been created by men.
Medea was in many ways ahead of its time.
Medea's relentless pursuit of vengeance is legendary. She is driven by a passionate desire to right
the wrongs done to her and sacrifices even her own children in the pursuit of satisfaction. Medea
shows audiences the horror that can come when a person lets desire for revenge rule her life.

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Nurse: "[Medea] hates her sons I dread to think of what is hatching in her mind"
Euripides doesn't shy away from clear foreshadowing here. Medea's path of revenge is pretty clear
even from the opening moments of the play.
Medea: "Oh what misery! Cursed sons, and a mother for cursing! Death take you all ­ you and your
Nurse: "Why make the sons share in their father's guilt?"
The nurse points out the irrationality of Medea's rage.…read more

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Medea: "Go, my sons, into the halls of wealth down on your knees and beg her ­ this new wife of our
Medea could be seen as a traitor as well. She's purposely involving her sons in a plot which will
make everybody in Corinth want to kill them. You might say her betrayal is far worse than Jason's.
Medea: "What power or divine is ready to hear you ... perjurer, liar, treacherous guest?"
Medea feels the gods are on her side.…read more

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Foreignness and `The Other'
Ancient Greeks had a deep suspicion of foreigners, thinking of them all as "barbarians". With Medea,
Euripides seems to confront this prejudice by choosing to honour a foreigner with the role of tragic
heroine and by making her the most intelligent character in the play. However, the playwright also
confirms many Greek stereotypes of foreigners by making Medea wild, overly passionate, and
Nurse: "Ah, she [Medea] has merited this city's good opinion, exile though she came.…read more

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Of course, the Tutor's whole position in life is threatened by the new marriage. If Medea
and the boys get exiled, what will happen to him?
Cunning and Cleverness
Medea is symbolic of the clever woman imprisoned in a world of men. Her intelligence inspires both
suspicion and cautious admiration. In the end, her cunning becomes her supreme weapon in her
quest for revenge. None of her enemies stand a chance against her supreme intellect.…read more

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Once again this seems to support the view that the play has
a very cynical view of love. Medea is a lot happier and selfsatisfied now that she's completely
destroyed all traces of it from her life.
Medea is a straight up serial killer. Back in her and Jason's Golden Fleece days, she killed her own
brother and chopped him into pieces. Later on, she tricked King Pelias' daughters into chopping him
into pieces.…read more

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Jason's insensitivity knows no bounds. Without the help of Medea's cunning and magic, Jason never
would've gotten the Golden Fleece. He wouldn't be a legendary hero at all. Ironically, he wouldn't even
be considered worthy of Creon's royal daughter. When Medea points out how much he owes her, he
callously downplays her contribution, saying, "Your cleverness played a part" and "your service did no
harm.…read more

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Medea to stay another day for the sake of her sons. So why
would the Chorus do nothing to stop the murder of their amiable ruler?
The only justification we can come up with for the Chorus's inactivity is that, like Medea, they are
extremely dissatisfied with the treatment of women in their society. Their ode to female revolution
supports this idea. Perhaps they represent the large number of women that are put upon, but don't
have the will for revolt.…read more


Jamie Haywood

it was ok...but all the stuff is copied from shmoop

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