Medea

Medea

Title of Work: Medea

Country/Culture: Greek

Literary Period: Classical

Type of Literature (genre): Drama/Tragedy

Author: Euripides

Authorial information:

Euripides was born in 484 BC and took
up drama at the young age of 25. At most drama competitions, however his
plays came in last place until he was about 45 or 50 years old. In his
entire life, he wrote 92 plays of which only five received first place
awards at competition. Euripides despised women. He had been married twice
to unfaithful women and had three sons. This hate of women is shown in
his work of Medea.

Author\'s unique style:

Euripides\' characterization of women is
considered unique in the play Medea because the tragic Hero/ine - in this
case Jason and Medea in each one\'s own sense - is done over by a woman
after cheating on her with the princess of the King of Corinth. He places
emphasis on human emotions and individual psychology in order to help the
reader produce a clear picture of the characters. Medea features strong
dramatic situations and a stirring part for the heroine, whose attitude
of feminine pride and tradition is still popular in today\'s world.

Setting:

The entire play takes place on the island
of Corinth in present day Greece. Individual places such as Medea/Jason\'s
home, and the palace of the king and princess are also spoken of and used
in the play. It has an ancient Greek setting as well.

Theme: "What goes around comes around."

The theme of revenge in the sense of Medea\'s
strong desire to seek revenge on Jason.

Another possible theme of Medea may be
that at times a punishment of revenge should justify the crime - no matter
how severe. Only a person in such a situation (and greater beings) may
know what to action to take in this position.

Characters:

Medea - The strong willed woman who would
do anything for her husband is victimized by him and turns deadly. After
going to a great extent to help Jason - killing people to be with him and
married to him - he turns around and marries a younger princess and leaves

Medea and their two children with nothing. This deeply angers Medea - her
tragic flaw appears to be an over excessive sense of revenge - who goes
absolutely berserk and kills the princess and her children to get back
at Jason for leaving her. She is very decisive and intelligent and had
thought through her actions against Jason before carrying them out.

Jason - The Husband of Medea who leaves
her for another woman - the King of Corinth\'s daughter - claiming it would
be better for both Medea and their children if he "got in good with the
king". Jason obviously is not caring about his wife who actually killed
to be with him. He does however still love his children. His flaw of apathy
or the fact that he is not perseverant causes his downfall when Medea has
his wife (the princess) murdered as well as his children. This causes Jason
to be extremely disturbed - but it is deserved.

King Aegeus - The present King of Athens
who is very sympathetic. He is friends with Medea and understands her problem.

He tells her that she may come to Athens and seek refuge if she pleases.

He has no children and asks if she will "provide him with some". In this
sense, he is a jolly fellow who assists friends in time of need. He also
provides Medea with a place to go and be protected after she goes on her
killing rampage.

Nurse - The Nurse plays a somewhat minor
role and yet influences the story of Medea. She is employed by Medea to
look after the children but the Nurse also gossips and provides advice
and assistance to Medea. She provides the audience with background information
on the play and puts pieces together of the "big picture." The Nurse begs

Medea to not do anything rash because of Jason but says that she knows

Medea will so that foreshadows the though of tragedy in the play. She also
sympathizes Medea but as soon as Medea is not looking, the Nurse criticizes
her as being somewhat over reactive.

King Creon - King Creon finds disfavor
on Medea for many reasons. Most of all he believes she may decide to kill
his daughter out of spite.

Quotes:

"O God, do you hear it, this persecution,
these my sufferings from this hateful woman, this monster, murderess of
children? Still what I can do that I will do: I will lament and cry upon
heaven, calling the gods to