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The false justifications in the play medea by euripides

Arguments and Persuasive Language: The Theatre of Dionysus at Athens had more than 17,000 seats. The actors all male performed in formal costumes and wore masks that emphasised the dominant traits of their respective characters. It varied depending upon the method of the playwright and the needs of the play being performed.

Tragedy has six main elements — plot, character, diction, thought, spectacle and song music. And life consists of action, and its end is a mode of activity, not a quality.

There is no doubt that Medea is a revenge tragedy that evokes strong reactions in the protagonists and ambivalent reactions in viewers. For many viewers, even the grief-stricken husband and father, the Jason of the last scene, does not seem to arouse pity.

Medea is introduced to the audience by the Nurse in terms that clearly foreshadow disaster. Throughout, the audience is encouraged by the chorus to sympathise with Medea: But the audience is taken, nonetheless, on a horrific journey into the depths of depravity that challenges the very limits of such identification.

The sacrifice At the heart of the tragedy lies a string of violent sacrifices arising from a passionate love affair. The Nurse depicts the first murder-sacrifice that reverberates throughout the play: In the absence of home, and in the face of such misery, Medea can only contemplate death. The exasperation and wretchedness in her voice are clear from the start: This deep, estranged and wailing voice sets up an encounter with death from which there appears to be the false justifications in the play medea by euripides escape.

The dowry system, their lack of freedom in the choice of a husband, the inequality of divorce provisions and sexual inequality all contributed to their unequal marital status. Defiantly, Medea dares to challenge the patriarchal social order when she challenges King Creon and Jason owing to their decisions about her future. In her first soliloquy, Medea, echoing the views of the Nurse, rails against the unjust and unequal plight of women in Greek society.

She rails against the fact that women are expected to be obedient, suppliant and submissive. He encourages the marriage and coerces Medea into submitting to their wishes, as presented as law. He also then decides to banish her and her children. The poets were all men 413-31 Euripides predicts that the poets will have to rewrite the books. He foresees that, armed with greater foresight and understanding, the poets will need to amend their representation of women: Moving from the general to the particular in her first soliloquy, Medea personalises her plight to reinforce her individual misery.

For a Greek woman, their social status is intolerable; for a foreign woman it is unbearable. Betrayed and incensed, Medea knows that Jason owes his success to her. She killed the snake, which enabled Jason to return home a hero. As she plans the triple murder, her main motive is that she spares herself humiliation at the hands of the enemy. Slipping into the third person as she often does to convey her wretched internal struggle, Medea steels herself to action and encourages herself to show the necessary courage to deal with her humiliation.

  • As a mother, Medea recognises the need to endure the pain; she has powerful maternal feelings;
  • Note important quotes from the Nurse;
  • The very act of killing her children shows the love that Medea has for them and the sacrifice she is making in order to save them from a worse death;
  • It is the only way for her to avoid suspicion by Jason , Creon , and Glauke and insure that Jason is left alone;
  • Ino murdered her children while insane, which also hints at a fundamental and strategic difference.

On to the deadly moment that shall test your nerve! Apparent stereotypical contrasts On the one hand, Euripides sets up a contrast between Jason and Medea: Medea is the typically passionate and jealous woman who has been spurned by her ex-husband. Medea champions personal relationships and harbours a burning sense of justice.

She already has blood on her hands and is capable of violent actions: Or moved her cheek from the hard ground. Through interjections and questions, Medea wails and bemoans her misery. What misery, what wretchedness. Contrastingly, Jason appears cool and calculating. He saved her from the barbarous land. He says that he will provide well for her in exile. Although Euripides sets up a contrast between the two protagonists he also undermines their differences.

Like Creon, he fails to grasp her burning sense of injustice, offensively downplays his dependence upon her for his previous victory the Golden Fleece and typecasts her as a sexually-jealous woman. Sensibly, Medea outlines the injustice of her plight and yearns for justice for women, and yet her course of action undermines her struggle. She also comes to Corinth with a the false justifications in the play medea by euripides of violent actions. Note important quotes from the Nurse: It is also the Nurse who suggests: Although Medea wins our sympathy owing to her understandable position of despair and misery, she dubiously justifies her murderous deeds: Medea appears as the courageous Sophoclean heroine, who often presents her case as a necessary divine struggle and eventually escapes triumphantly through divine interventionand yet the murder of her children clearly undermines the heroic nature of her cause.

Medea triumphs over Jason and gloats in his agony. Does Euripides suggest that her triumph and gloating are warranted, or is he critiquing a mindset that excuses heinous crimes according to the murderous standards of the god?

In this regard, Euripides deliberately builds a contrast between the vulnerable, passionate, scorned spouse and the phlegmatic protagonist who first emerges to address the Chorus: She appears strong, intelligent and clear-headed about her situation and her choices. Notice, too, how Medea at first universalises her plight and speaks sensibly on behalf of all women.

Only towards, the end of this first soliloquy does she personalise her situation and draw attention to her state of physical and emotional exile. This is why Creon fears Medea; she must reassure him and she does, temporarily and despite his wishes.

  1. My accursed hand, come take the sword; Take it and forward to your frontier of despair. In fact, there appears much to detest in his line of argument; he generally fails to arouse the sympathy of viewers and we must ask why.
  2. She is fiercely proud, cunning and coldly efficient, unwilling to allow her enemies any kind of victory.
  3. In many ways, whilst summoning up extreme courage, she indulges in self-pity.
  4. What misery, what wretchedness.
  5. In this regard, Euripides deliberately builds a contrast between the vulnerable, passionate, scorned spouse and the phlegmatic protagonist who first emerges to address the Chorus.

Men distrust superior intelligence in general; they fear and hate it in a woman. She also dissembles in her discussion with Jason; she flatters him and uses self-deprecating terms to acquiesce to his authority. Transforming herself into the stereotypical submissive and compliant housewife, she anticipates that Jason will be appeased.

She insists that Aegeus swear an oath to honour his commitment that she can live in Athens. She is feared by many. So may the gods grant you fertility, and bring Your life to a happy close…. I know certain drugs Whose power will put an end to your sterility.

So, whilst magic belongs to the realm of the other, it also consists of a certain skill and deftness that one attributes to the Grecian world of law and order. Whilst a general trait, such access to magic is also presented as rare, ingenious and uncontrollable. And indeed Medea capably reassures Creon by appealing to the love of family.

Medea by Euripides

Despite his best intentions, he grants her an extra day. The threat as Euripides shows is not merely external. Medea personifies the threat from within. On the one hand, Medea presents a powerful case in defence of women and suggests that her grievances are fuelled by the injustices done to her, as a woman and as a foreigner.

However, the means by which she seeks to redress these injustices undermines the righteousness of her cause.

  1. In breaking the oath, Medea believes that Jason is mocking the gods.
  2. Medea has to debate seriously, with herself, about whether or not to kill her children. Although Euripides sets up a contrast between the two protagonists he also undermines their differences.
  3. The playwright suggests that hatred festers and leads to shameful excuses on behalf of Medea, who condones the suffering she inflicts on others, and admits that she is concerned with protecting herself from scorn.
  4. Although they recognize that Medea has been wronged, they diverge sharply from Medea once the child-slaying becomes part of her plan.
  5. She asks him to accept her in Athens, welcome her into his house on the grounds that she can overcome his infertility. The actors all male performed in formal costumes and wore masks that emphasised the dominant traits of their respective characters.

She deceives Creon by recognising his soft heart. Later, she will extract a promise from Aegon because of his desire for children. Jason also protests that the children were of prime consideration in his own advancement plans. And it seems, that it is during these discussions with her two enemies, that Medea forges the scheme to kill the children.

As spectators, we follow the ironies which are concealed from both Jason and Creon. If Medea deceives Creon with her self-deprecating pretensions, Medea deceives Jason by acknowledging his desire for an obedient and repentant wife. Her false declaration of submission to Jason, her confession that she was a foolish emotional woman, lures him to his doom. Medea knows that her best way to conceal her motives and implement her plan is to pretend to be submissive.

And we must also consider, why Medea goes so far? As love and hatred intertwine, the nurse also reminds us that the failure to deal with sorrow can have egregious consequences. The playwright suggests that hatred festers and leads to shameful excuses on behalf of Medea, who condones the suffering she inflicts on others, and admits that she is concerned with protecting herself from scorn. In fact, there appears much to detest in his line of argument; he generally fails to arouse the sympathy of viewers and we must ask why.

But just as Medea blurs the boundaries between justice and revenge, these is a sense that Jason acts not so much for rational, but for expedient reasons.

There appears no doubt that Medea was an exemplary and submissive wife. Jason admits that his motives were not sexual as he did not, like many other husbands, lose desire. In this regard, he is also motivated by patriarchal concerns typical of men in 5th century Greek society and believes that he has the right to make choices for his sons and opts for status and prosperity without the stigma of difference.

Even in his final comments, he, typically, continues to downplay the enormity of her pain: He overlooks her criticism of the social order that excludes and shamefully treats women as chattels. Contrastingly, right from the outset, Medea has universalised her predicament to focus our attention on the social order.

Jason does not understand and blindly continues to justify and promote the benefits of a civilised Hellas that benefits men solely. He goes so far as to scorn his dependency upon women: He offensively posits himself as the representative of justice and has the audacity to level at Medea the charge of traitor: Also, Euripides argues that judging women on their sometimes emotional and irrational behaviour is hypocritical.

His diatribe, in which he unleashes insults and threats at Medea, is testament to this: Avenging justice blast your being! As the ironies mount, we also note that the naked and exposed Jason is stripped of status at the end and Medea is the one to systematically kill the relationships upon which he depends.

A Sophoclean heroine or tyrant? As a mother, Medea recognises the need to endure the pain; she has powerful maternal feelings.