The Nature Of Human Psychology Essay

The Nature Of Human Psychology Essay

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It is within the very nature of humans to isolate the polarised forces of reason and passion, yet within his Greek tragedy Medea, Euripides demonstrates the “fatal results” of possessing a predisposition for either frame of mind. Indeed, the antagonistic relationship between Medea and society best contextualises the gripping antithesis between maintaining an acceptable outward demeanour and laying bare our inner impulses respectively, however, at its core, this rupture is also self evident on an intrapersonal level as observed in Medea’s character. In presenting the consequences of the oppressive culture of Greek society, as well as the extent of destruction entailed with Medea’s unchecked emotions that propel her cause for revenge, Euripides seems to suggest that we should nurture our passion, but in doing so, we should also rein over them with reason, notable in the Nurse’s character. The nature of human psychology is one that manifests itself in binary oppositions, however it is not contrived in as such a way that forbids us from travelling the “middle way”.

In Medea, the concept of society, a fabricated construct and its principles guided by logic are naturally unfamiliar to humans, who are primarily dictated by emotions, and only thereafter by thoughts of rationality. There exists between Medea and the Greek society a fundamental disjunction in the beliefs that they maintain that runs throughout the entirety of the play. The state of Corinth concerns itself with preserving a façade of orderliness derived from rationality and order; on the contrary, Medea, “who left a barbarous land to become a resident of Hellas” is the embodiment of excess that the civilised world fears, ruled by passionate anger in her lust for revenge. S...


... middle of paper ...


...hout the play, the Chorus

The very notion 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 combatant forces of reason and passion are arbitrary in the larger scheme of our existence. Although the human mind is accustomed to manifesting itself in binary oppositions constituted of reason and passion which extends to all facets of life, such a notion is underplayed in the face of god. Removed from our jurisdiction, the nature of our existence is dependant on far greater forces that transcend this fabricated conflict, and attributes an element of emptiness and inconsequence to the sense of perfection of “tradition, order” and “all things”. Through the deus ex machina ending of the play, Euripides condemns the necessity that all actions are derived either from reason or passion.


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