Medea: A Loving Mother

1266 Words6 Pages
The Greek playwright, Euripides, is considered one of the three great tragedians of classical Athens. His individuality is attributed to the way he “pushes to the limits of what an audience can stand” . His masterpiece Medea , a fascinating classic centered on the Greek goddess Medea, is a prime example of his eccentricity. This piece was unpopular during the time of its release since it defied the commons themes of tragedies during the 430s B.C.E.; it, instead, introduced a nihilistic and disturbing drama focused on women, slaves and persons from the lower class. Euripides’ mastery shines through as he guides the audience to sympathize with Medea despite her committing filicide, a seemingly horrendous act. He induces this sympathy through the Chorus, the Nurse, and the Children, which are all minor characters, as present her as a victim of Jason’ deeds, establish the development of her emotional state, and ascertaining the importance of her pride. Although these characters guide the audience towards similar concepts, they represent a contradiction regarding the slaughter of the Children.
The Chorus in Medea consists of middle-aged Corinthian women who are present on-stage throughout the entire play. They defy their customary purpose of solely observing, and instead in Medea, they give their opinion on the events of the production and directly speak to the characters. For an instance, they warn Jason by saying: “you are acting wrongly in thus abandoning your wife” (p. 34). In this quotation, they voice the audience’s thoughts and feelings, while foreshadowing the consequences of the events.
The Nurse also shares a similar role with the Chorus. Euripides uses her to introduce Medea and give an introduction to the play. She is the...

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...ting the deaths as inevitable and Medea’s decision to murder them herself as merciful.
In the play Euripides skillfully uses the Chorus, the Nurse, and the children to help the audience feel compassionate with Medea though portraying her as the victim on Jason’s evil, present Medea’s emotional development, and the importance of the children’s pride to her. Besides their different views on the murder, they generally support each other. Thus, Euripides changes a tale of jealousy and betrayal, to a play depicting fundamental maternal emotions portrayed by Medea.

Works Cited

The Cambridge History of Classical Literature I: Greek Literature, P.Easterling and B.Knox (ed.s), Cambridge University Press (1985), page 339
All references to Medea are from Euripides, Medea and Another Plays translated by Philip Vellacott, Harmonsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1963.
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