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Medea

By: Kelsey Newhouse & Emily Bradley
by

Emily Bradley

on 26 September 2012

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Transcript of Medea

By: Kelsey Newhouse and Emily Bradley Medea Euripides is the author of Medea. From Athens, he is known as a tragedian playwright. Other similar writers of his time include Aeschylus and Sophocles. More of his writings have been found compared to these two authors. Euripides (480BC-406BC) Spark Jason: Jason is Medea’s husband, but then he marries Kreon’s daughter. Before the play, he persuaded Medea to kill her own brother. Jason then betrays Medea by marrying another woman. He tries to make Medea believe the he married the princess for Medea and the kids, but it’s obviously for himself. Nurse, Children, and Tutor: They are all minor roles, but are in a lot of the play. The nurse tries to console Medea when she is writhing in heartbreak, and tries to stop her from killing anyone because of it. The kids come in and out of the play, but they are a symbol of just how far Medea will go to get her revenge. The tutor escorts Medea’s two children around, and is similar to a nanny. Kreon and Aigeus: Kreon is the ruler of Corinth, whose daughter married Jason. He gives Medea one more day, and then she has to leave Corinth. Aigeus is the king of Athens, and a friend of Medea’s. He and his wife aren’t able to have kids, so he makes a deal with Medea. If she can live in Athens no matter what, then she will help them conceive. Medea: Medea is the main character. The whole play revolves around her. She’s married to Jason and has two kids with him. The play begins with Medea being in extreme emotional agony, and as the play progresses, she becomes much more aware, and comes up with an evil plan of revenge on Jason. She wasn’t always that way, though. Before we know Medea, she is madly in love with Jason and would do anything for him. Characters The setting is in Corinth, where Kreon rules. Most of the play takes place in front of Medea’s house. Setting Medea once lived a happy life with her father as he ruled Colchis, until the day that Jason came along. Medea fell madly in love with Jason, and helped him take the Golden Fleece away from her family. He persuaded her to have her nieces assist in slicing her brother into pieces to ‘find eternal youth’ but it didn’t work, so they were banished from Colchis. Once they made it to Corinth with their two children, Jason decided to marry the king’s daughter. And from that point on, Medea lost her mind. Medea is emotionally distraught because her husband, the love of her life, and her soul mate, Jason, has left her for the princess of Corinth. She says that she will do anything to get back at Jason and his new wife. King Kreon finds out about her issues and tells her that for the safety of the kingdom, she must leave and never come back. She begs for his mercy, and convinces him that she won’t hurt anyone. He gives her one day to prepare a place to move to, and then she must go. Summary Jason hears about this and tells Medea that if she leaves in peace, he will give her money and help her find a place to live. He claims that he married the princess in order to help Medea and their children so that they would have stability and alliance with the king. Medea quickly rejects the offer, and their discussion turns into a fight. Once Jason leaves, Medea runs into her friend Aigeus. Medea explains her troubles to him. Medea makes a deal with him that if she is able to live in Athens without ever being exiled for anything, then she would assist them with conceiving a child. They make an oath to this. Medea announces her new plan to the surrounding women. She says that she will send for Jason, and ‘ask for forgiveness’. She’ll also ask for her kids to stay with Jason, so they’ll be safe. Then, she will send her children to beg for the princess’ mercy, bearing gifts of a dress and jewelry that are poisoned. The princess won’t be able to resist the beautiful gifts, and she’ll die from trying them on. Once this happens, she will kill her children. This will ruin Jason's life, and then she will leave. After Medea makes her evil plan, she tells Jason how selfish she is, and how she should have been more accepting with his marriage. She proposes the idea of her kids staying with Jason and his new wife as she is exiled. He accepts the apology and says that he will try to convince the princess to let the children stay. Medea insists that the kids give the lovely gifts to their stepmother. As the children and Jason leave, Medea awaits the news of the princess’ death. The play ends with a messenger informing Medea that the princess had died from the gifts. Not only did the princess die, but King Kreon died as well by coming into contact with her. She then kills her own children. Jason says his life is now over, that he hates Medea, and that he wants to bury the bodies. Medea doesn't care about his feelings, and says she'll bury them. Beginning of the play: Medea is in mourning. She is full of pain and sadness, and is just a complete wreck. Medea feels as though she can't go on with her life. Development of Medea Middle of play: Medea begins to realize that moping around will never help her accomplish anything. Her depression soon turns to anger. She wants vengeance on Jason. Medea's actions become more extreme. End of play: Medea is no longer depressed or angry, and is now satisfied with her decisions. She feels on top of the world with her choice in actions. Characters Continued Characters Continued Characters Continued Summary Continued Summary Continued Summary Continued Summary Continued End of Summary Literary Devices-Symbolism The two sons of Medea and Jason can be considered a symbol for many reasons. First, Medea and Jason were once madly in love, and their children are a product of that. They represent the once loving marriage that the two once had.
Now that Medea and Jason are over, it can be thought that Medea wants no memory of the life she used to live. Therefore, she kills the sons because they symbolized their marriage.

This play is rather feminist. So, one can also believe that the killing of the sons can represent Medea and her feminist beliefs. Women of that time often had no say in anything and were told what to do by their husbands. It is a possibility that Medea killed them not only to get back at Jason, but to also kill off another generation of controlling men.

"Of all creatures that can feel and think, we women are the worst treated things alive." Since Medea is in play form, it has stage directions. It also is narrated by an outside person that doesn’t know the feelings or thoughts of the characters unless they say them out loud. Medea shows the disadvantages of being a woman in Ancient Greece. She couldn’t do anything about her leaving her and her children, because he was the dominant man. Jason could’ve left her and the children alone without a house, food, or money if he wanted to. The chorus is an important device in the play because they are similar to a narrator. The chorus consists of Corinthian women and represents women of that time. These women share their thoughts with Medea, as well as with the readers. They also give advice to Medea on how to get back at Jason. As time goes on, they do not agree with Medea's ways.
In a way, the chorus brings in sympathy for Medea as well. Everyone else feels as though Medea has lost her mind, but the chorus is always there to offer help and show sympathy for her.
Literary Devices-Chorus
In our opinion, the author wanted to inform readers of what happens when husbands leave their wives. He took a comical approach to a crazy woman in Greece that didn’t get her way, and has her heart broken.
Author's Purpose Medea is jealous of Jason’s new wife. She has a better status, and she is more beautiful than Medea is. Most of all, she has Jason’s love.
Examples: Medea hates the Princess for taking Jason away from her, but the real reason she doesn’t like her is because she is getting affection from the love of Medea’s life.
Themes- Jealousy Medea wants vengeance on Jason for leaving her. She is determined to hurt him even more than he hurt her. She lets revenge and anger blind her from the fact that getting back at him won’t make the hurt go away.
Examples: She purposely kills his wife to get revenge.
She also kills her kids to make him feel the most pain possible.
When asked about why she killed her sons, Medea responded, "It is the supreme way to hurt my husband." Themes-Revenge/Vengeance Background Information Point of View Literary Devices- Irony The ending of the play shows irony. Medea has committed prolicide (act of killing one's own children), as well as the killing of the princess and Kreon. She ruined Jason's life and has been exiled. After all of these unfortunate events, she is still pleased with herself.
"Medea was in everything Jason's perfect foil, being in marriage that saving thing: a wife who does not go against her man." Sympathetic- This tone is provided by the chorus. They are constantly showing sympathy towards Medea, and later on towards the children.
"Do you hear the cry, do you hear the children's cry? O you hard heart, O woman fated for evil!" Tone Medea feels like Jason abandoned her and the kids (even though she is more concerned about herself). He found something better and didn’t think twice about leaving them.
Examples: Jason marries the princess and divorces Medea.
Themes- Abandonment No one in this play thinks about anyone but themselves. All of the characters are more concerned about their own benefit, rather than their loved ones.
Examples: Jason is being selfish for leaving his family to marry someone with a better status.
Medea kills her own children out of selfishness because she is in so much pain.
Themes- Selfishness There is a mentioning of different gods and other powerful people throughout the play.
Great Themis-protector of women in pain.
Hectate- Patron of witchcraft.
Helios- Medea's grandfather and God of Sun
Apollo- God of Music
Aphrodite- Goddess of Love
Pan- God of Wild Nature, mentioned by the messenger when telling Medea of the bride and Kreon's death.
Allusions Modern Version of Medea-Taylor Swift Writes songs about guys that have hurt her in order to get back at them, way less harsh than Medea's choices of revenge, but payback none the less. Constantly leaving his girlfriends for "better looking", younger and/or more famous women. Similar to Jason leaving Medea for a younger, wealthier princess. Modern Version of Jason-John Mayer Modern Version of Medea- Betty Broderick Killed (ex)husband and his new wife. Medea didn't kill her husband, however both took severe revenge. In this movie, the main character's husband is caught cheating, therefore she seeks out to kill his mistress. Very similar to Medea's actions. Modern Version of Medea- Obsessed
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