Hui Yu Patricia Gross THA 101 Section C 10/2/2012 Medea In the play Medea, Euripides depicted the role of a feminist. Her cunning and cleverness which should be admired however cause her tragedy at that time, the Ancient Greek time, where women are subordinate to men. The dominant men cannot bear that women go over them, thus cause the suffering and pain of Medea in her age. And in this view, I do not assume Medea a feminist but a normal woman who pursue harmony in family and loyalty in love, yet that finally depressed her and drove her into manipulation and brutalization.
Here are my few thought about questions involved in the play. * How is Medea’s situation worse than it would be if she were a native of the city? If Medea were a native of Corinth, she may find more support and comfort from family and feel better. However she was in the foreign region where the only one she can rely on and trust was her husband, the man that she sacrificed a lot to be company with. She helped him to get the Golden Fleece and in order to suspend her father’s chase she killed her own brother and cut him into pieces.
This did work relieving her father’s pursuit to the Argo so he could collect the pieces of his son’s body for burial. This cruel action did cut Medea’s affection between she and her family. Corinth cannot be a good place for her as a shelter, only a place full of torture and sorrow for her to suffer. When the king decided to exile her, the only thing she can do was to accept, and for more what she can do was to beg for the delay. As a modern audiences, I have difficulty conceiving of how horrible exile was for the ancient Greeks.
A person’s city-state was home and protector; to wander, without friends or shelter, was considered a fate as horrible as death. Medea, for the sake of her husband, has made herself an exile. She is far from home, without family or friends to protect her. In her overzealous advocacy of her husband’s interest, she has also made their family exiles in Corinth. They cannot return Jason’s home because of her actions in Iolcus. Their position is vulnerable. Jason, hero of the Golden Fleece (although Euripides emphasizes that Medea was the true agent behind the success of the quest) is now a wanderer.
His marriage is shrewd and calculating: he takes a bride of Corinth’s royal family. He is faithless, but he has a point when he argues to Medea that something needed to be done to provide their family with security. At this situation the poor woman (though it appeared that she never assume herself to be poor and had the strong impulsion to finish her revenge for her dignity. ) was worse and was driven step by step into tragedy. * What does the fate of Medea and of those who mistreat and oppress her say to its own time?
Might it shed light on the problem of Terrorism in our own time? Medea’s fate was doomed based on the age in my view. As I mentioned before, it was time of men and no rights and positions for women. A woman who was clever enough to think about her own spiritual pursuit and physical felicity was obviously a forerunner of feminist at that time. However unfortunately she ran too fast and challenged the man’s nerve. She is outstanding among men around she. She made so much manipulation to help her husband but finally was betrayed.
So it’s time for her to fight for herself, although this kind of method can lead a result that would also torture her forever and can never be dismissed. Those who gave suffer to Medea were just living the normal way of life. The exile and the punishment were understandable according to the policy and the rules at that time. It’s too much for a woman to bear but a right way to keep the justice. Medea was just born in the wrong age and if she lives in the modern city she can gain more happiness as an independent symbol of women.
I don’t think the mistreat and oppress at that time as light on the problem of Terrorism in our time because every age has their own view of value and treasure. The killings and death are essential in the Greek Mythology and they are overestimated in today’s drama and stories. It doesn’t mean we will experience such horrible things in real life. Nonetheless, only focusing on the exile, the punishment itself, we can also find it today, but in a more moderate way. I don’t know how it be demonstrated in western world but in China, during the Cultural Revolution, which is the dark age in the modern history since May 1966 to
October 1976, there were a lot of assuming political prisoners, most of whom were actually great scientists and writers who had high educations and had deep thoughts towards the political mistakes. They were exiled to the most rural areas for the sake of their wrong thoughts against the essential political outlines. It’s really a catastrophe of art and science in Chinese history since people needed to neatly express them out and were always afraid to be caught by others. * Why does the chorus get on Medea’s side?
What does the chorus say about love? The chorus were also a group of woman but may lack the courage to challenge the patriarchal society. Medea, who can be seen as the pioneer of woman that fight for her own happiness and facility. In the view of women, though they also admitted that Jason’s reasons for betrayal made sense, they pity Medea’s misfortune and encouraged Medea’s revenge invisibly. They are the symbol of the common women who submit themselves to men but seek independence initially.
Medea’s suffering was an export for them to find the inner passion and express that through the dialogue with Medea. According to chorus’ lyrics about love, they said, “Love with too much passion brings with it no fine reputation, brings nothing virtuous to men. ” I don’t really understand these words but was impressed with them. Understanding them superficially, it may reveal the virtue of love that the one who endeavor more in love may be more likely be hurt in the relationship. Does that mean we shouldn’t draw too much attention in love? Are Jason’s actions justified? I think Jason’s action is justified. Although he betrayed Medea and was going to marry the princess of Corinth, he was pushed into this kind of situation. They worked together to get the Golden Fleece from Colchis and later escaped from his country because of the crime they did. They had going through the happy days before and whether he was real or not fell in love with Medea, he brought her happiness and reputation. But when they got to Corinth, for the sake of his own wealth and position, Jason marry the princess of Corinth.
In the marriage every got what they want except Medea, the king of Corinth Creon can also get profit as the father in law of Jason who had the fame as hero of the Golden Fleece. This marriage was more like a trade instead of true love. In this sense, I do not think that Medea had lost something especially her husband’s love, because there was no love between the princess and Jason but only manipulation in everyone’s mind. After the announcement of Medea’s exile, Jason came to her and tried to support her some money and goods.
But Medea refuted that and blamed him for being a crowd and fraud. However I consider Jason’s behavior as understandable since it’s hard to make a choice between the bread and the love. Every choice made by differentiable people I pay respect to. In another perspective, when Medea killed her own brother, she betrayed her family who loved her and she became the cruel person at that situation. It was also the choice Medea made for her preference of love. And after the death of the king and the princess, Jason tried to find his children to protect them from the king’s guard.
He performed not merciless and did care about his sons, from which I estimate that he did care about Medea when he attempted to give support. He was also a poor man who lost all his treasures including his wife, his kids and his country at the end of the ending. * Do you pity Medea? I do pity Medea, but not for her misfortune but for her birth in the wrong age. She suffered a lot because of Jason’s betrayal, but like I said in the former paragraph, I think Jason’s action justified and that cannot be the reason for me to overlook Medea’s brutal behavior towards others.
She is such a radical woman who willing to sacrifice everything to make her revenge perfect. She killed the princess with the poison gift handed by her own sons. And when the old king embraced his daughter’s dead body, he was also killed. That made more sense because their offence to her marriage that they broke them down into pieces. But she murdered her own children, paradoxically, to protect them from the counter-revenge of her enemies; she also kills them to hurt Jason, although in slaying them she is dooming herself to a life of remorse and grief.
I think children were innocent and should not be responsible for their parents’ quarrel. I do not agree and can understand Medea’s revenge, which was like a final struggle to show her enmity towards her husband. But I pity her for punishing herself of killing her own children only for the revenge of her husband. Actually she must still be in love with her husband and when the love was like a stone into a lake which go straight down and can only make little waves on the surface. The asymmetrical positions in love destroyed her dignity and finally lead to her slaughters.