Medea and the Chorus
The exchange that takes place between Medea and the Chorus serves several purposes in Euripides' tragedy, The Medea. It allows us to sympathize with Medea in spite of her tragic flaws. It also foreshadows the tragic events that will come to pass. Finally, it contrasts rationality against vengeance and excess. The Chorus offers the sane view of the world to the somewhat insane characters of Medea, Jason, and Creon. As the passage begins on page 176, the leader of the Chorus reveals that she has high regards for Medea despite the fact that she is "savage still." She acknowledges Medea as a foreigner and an outsider and yet is sympathetic towards her. This alliance is apparently based on female bonds rather than on any kind of national loyalty. Medea wastes no time before she begins lamenting and cursing those who "dared wrong me without cause." The Chorus tries to comfort Medea, hoping that this might "lessen her fierce rage / And her frenzy of spirit." They show real concern for her well-being, as well as for the well-being of her loved ones. This unselfish attitude is in stark contrast to the attitudes of the main characters in the tragedy, who all seem to be extremely self-serving. So in just a few short lines, it's already become apparent that while the chorus doesn't necessarily agree with the way that Medea is handling her situation, they are sticking by her and supporting her. This idea supports one of the important themes of the play: the battle of the sexes. Medea now has a chance to get a few things off her chest. She addresses the "Women of Corinth," reminding them that of "all things that live upon the earth and have intelligence we women are certainly the most wretched." She discusses the sad lot that women must deal with in marriage and again stresses the fact that she is an outsider, "alone, without / a city. Her speech is clever and compelling.
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For as long as humans have roamed the Earth, misogyny has been an everyday part of life. Some countries have handled it better than others, but misogyny faces every community. In Euripides tragedy Medea, the main character Medea struggles with the misogynistic views constantly facing the society in which she resides. Euripides uses Medea to convey misogyny.
Euripedes tugs and pulls at our emotions from every angle throughout The Medea. He compels us to feel sympathy for the characters abused by Medea, yet still feel sympathy for Medea as well. These conflicting feelings build a sense of confusion and anxiety about the unfolding plot. In the beginning, the Nurse reveals the recent background events that have caused Medea so much torment: "She herself helped Jason in every way" (13) and now he "has taken a royal wife to his bed" (18). Right away we are angry with Jason for breaking his wedding vows, and we are building up sympathy for Medea as the Nurse describes her acts of suffering. When we first see Medea, she speaks passionately to the women of Corinth and convinces them to side with her. She evokes their sympathy by drawing further attention to her suffering and speaking in terms that bring them all to common ground. Aegeus becomes Medea’s first victim when he, unknowingly, provides the final building block in her plan for revenge against Jason. We sympathize for Aegeus in his ignorance. Medea now has confidence in her plan, so she reveals it to the women of Corinth. She is going to send her children to Jason’s bride with a poisoned dress that will make her die in agony. We are still compelled to sympathize with Medea at this point because she has justified her reasons for seeking revenge. However, the princess is oblivious to Medea’s plot; she will accept the gift for its beauty then meet an unexpected, agonized death. The image of pain and agony elicits our sympathy as well. Medea presents her most perverse speech when she explains how she will kill her own children then flee Corinth. Alone, these acts provoke pure disgust, but Euripides has developed Medea’s character as a coercive force; we still sympathize with her for her plight, yet we also hate her for her decisions. The women of Corinth try to persuade her away from this morbid choice, but their arguments are ineffective. Euripides employs stichomythia in the exchange between the women and Medea to show Medea breaking down boundaries between self and other, which prevent sympathy (811-819). Euripedes focuses on suffering, ignorance, and rhetoric to leave us torn in our sympathy for every character.
Euripides uses indirect/direct characterization of Medea, the plays antagonist, to help the readers understand a deeper reason for the things she has done, including kill her own brother and children. Through the use of the chorus, and other minor factors, we, as the audience, get to mentally interpret Medea’s side of the problems she and Jason undergo, and try to understand what she is going through and how she feels. Does she do it out of spite or out of revenge? Was she really in love with Jason, and was he worth killing all of these people she so deeply cared about? Although Medea is portrayed as the villain in the play due to her actions and rage, indirect/direct characterization from herself, other characters, and most importantly, the chorus, all reveal a deeper understanding as to why Medea did what she did and how she felt in the midst of all these problems she faced.
It is the reversal of “tradition, order” and “all things”. In her commitment to revenge, Medea defies the expectation of Greek society, transforming from the “poor Medea”, who is “scorned and shamed”, “[lying] collapsed in agony, into a “vile murderess”, who’s “rage will not relax till it has found its victim”. Medea is an anti-hero; she underplays the supposedly righteous and moral principles of society in demonstrating the contradictions of Jason’s character and generally men, who are themselves guilty of being “swayed by passion” and being “oath breakers, guest deceivers and liars.” As much as Jason is disloyal, Aegeus is equally loyal; he is so beguiled by Medea’s offer of being “granted fertility”, that he is willing to provide “sanctuary” in Athens for a “child killer”. Just as Medea is motivated by her personal passions in neglect of civilised laws, no less are the men in the play. Furthermore, the fact that the ending of the play unfolds in the manner that it does, where Medea evades punishment “in this chariot which the Sun has sent to save her from the hands of enemies” is a testimony to the idea that the constructs of society and their supposedly cultivated principles are arbitrary in the larger scheme of our existence. Through the deus ex machina ending of the play, Euripides condemns humanity’s fixation on contrived ideals and values that ultimately affect greater merit than is actually
Centuries of traditions has enabled men and women to define gender roles in society. Although some critics declare gender roles do not exist today, others believe they do. In society, men and women are defined by gender roles throughout their activities and emotions. A doctor is typically portrayed by a male while women rear the children and cook for the men. However, although still in existence, today these roles are less obvious but tend to have similar meaning when compared to the past. In ancient Greece, women suffered great hardships. Currently, females work, vote, and run for office. In comparison to ancient Greece, these activities are a phenomenal leap from being under the direct supervision of a male husband.
The Evil Character Medea in Euripides' Medea. Euripides created a two-headed character in this classic tragedy. Medea begins her marriage as the ideal loving wife who sacrificed much for her husband's safety. At the peak of the reading, she becomes a murderous villain that demands respect and even some sympathy.
Personal Development, one of the core values at Saint Leo University, plays an important role in students’ daily lives. From the moment you step foot on campus to the day you graduate, you automatically become a different person. As a first year student, you are entering a new life and not knowing what to expect. Once you are in college, it is the start of a new chapter. You will become more mature and all the obstacles that you will go through will make you a different person. In order to have a successful Undergraduate experience, it is crucial to have a balance between personal life and school. Your personal development will strengthen your academics and the community. The Campus Life Handbook states, “Saint Leo University stresses the development of every person’s mind, spirit, and body for a balanced life. All members of the Saint Leo University community must demonstrate their commitment to personal development to help strengthen the character of our community” (Saint Leo 1). Based on the Saint Leo core values, personal development, responsible stewardship, integrity, respect, and community exemplifies Medea’s character as a Hero devolving throughout the play.
*Although Medea is arguably the most intelligent character in Euripides’s piece, shown in her dialogue with Creon, she has become ridiculed, and viewed as barbarous and less desirable following her separation from Jason. She is no longer a wife to a Greek man. She is simply an outsider, and a burden on a prosperous
The tragic play Medea is a struggle between reason and violence. Medea is deliberately portrayed as not a ‘normal woman’, but excessive in her passions. Medea is a torment to herself and to others; that is why Euripides shows her blazing her way through life leaving wreckage behind her. Euripides has presented Medea as a figure previously thought of exclusively as a male- hero. Her balance of character is a combination of the outstanding qualities of Achilles and Odysseus.
Spectacle can be defined as “visually striking performance or display”. It is directly associated with the eyes, the act of viewing or looking at something. In regards to theatre spectacle serves as the middle man between the eyes and the senses of the individual spectator. The response to spectacle varies based on the spectator. The appeal of spectacle is conceived from its ability to captivate the audience and grab hold of the viewer’s gaze. This can be done with the presentation of violence, admiration, sorrow etc. It is able to produce unnatural tension. According to Aristotle, for a tragedy to reach its “finest form” it must arouse fear and pity. With the use of Euripides’s Medea I
Aristotle, a philosopher, scientist, spiritualist and passionate critic of the arts, spent many years studying human nature and its relevance to the stage. His rules of tragedy in fact made a deep imprint on the writing of tragic works, while he influenced the structure of theatre, with his analysis of human nature. Euripides 'Medea', a Greek tragedy written with partial adherence to the Aristotelian rules, explores the continuation of the ancient Greek tales surrounding the mythology of Medea, Princess of Colchis, and granddaughter of Helios, the sun god, with heartlessness to rival the infamous Circe. While the structure of this play undoubtedly perpetuates many of the Aristotelian rules, there are some dramatic structures which challenge its standing with relevance to Aristotle's guidelines, and the judgment of Medea as a dramatic success within the tragic genre.
In Euripides' Medea, the main character of the same name is a controversial heroine. Medea takes whatever steps necessary to achieve what she believes is right and fair. She lived in a time when women were expected to sit in the shadows and take the hand that life dealt them without a blink of their eye. Medea took very radical steps to liberate herself and destroys the life of the man who ruined hers. She refused to accept the boundaries that a patriarchal society set upon her. Medea was a very wise and calculated woman who was brave enough to leave her homeland, along with everything she knew and loved, in order to follow her heart down the path of what she expected to be eternal happiness.
Medea’s illegitimate marriage and the betrayal of Jason drive Medea to extreme revenge. Medea chooses to act with her immortal self and commit inhumane acts of murder rather than rationalize the outcomes of her actions. Medea see’s this option as her only resort as she has been banished and has nowhere to go, “stripped of her place”. To create sympathy for Medea, Euripides plays down Medea’s supernatural powers until the end of the play. Throughout the play Medea represents all characteristics found in individual women put together, including; love, passion, betrayal and revenge. Medea’s portrayal of human flaws creates empathetic emotions from the audience. The audience commiserates with Medea’s human flaws as they recognize them in themselves. Medea plays the major role in this play as she demonstrates many behavioral and psychological patterns unlike any of the other Greek women in the play; this draws the audience’s attention to Medea for sympathy and respect.
In the list of characters at the beginning of the play, the Chorus is stated to be a chorus of Corinthian Women. This draws the first link between them and Medea. The Chorus follows Medea on her journey through this play. They act as narrators on important occurrences in the play; however, they also act as a device Euripedes uses to influence the opinion of the audience. He does this by presenting to the audience a moral voice in the Chorus. The audience can relate to them, because the Chorus is in a neutral position in the play. They are definitely an integral part of the play, but their role is not so much to influence the actual plot of the play, but more to echo what has happened in the plot and the thoughts of the protagonists, and to suggest moral solutions the audience. The Chorus uses language which almost makes it seem that they are speaking from the perspective of the audience, and in doing this they are guiding the audience responses to what Euripedes wants it to be:
Medea was a very diverse character who possesses several characteristics which were unlike the average woman during her time. As a result of these characteristics she was treated differently by members of the society. Media was a different woman for several reasons; she possessed super natural powers , she was manipulative, vindictive, and she was driven by revenge. The life that Medea lived and the situations she encountered, (one could say) were partly responsible for these characteristics and her actions.