Medea and the Greek Idea of Control

Medea and the Greek Idea of Control

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Medea and the Greek Idea of Control


Nothing bothered the Ancient Greeks more than chaos. Of this there is proof in the many artifacts recovered from Ancient Greek sites; their pottery, sculpture, architecture, and literature all convey the importance of balance and control to their society. "Medea," written by Euripedes, reveals this idea of the Greeks. The play illustrates many evils of the society: a civilian fighting against social morals, and, even worse, committing murder. More importantly, though, it proves though chaos and evil are powerful forces, "good" ones, balance and control, for example, will always prevail. In "Medea," the only way to achieve this peace is to remove the one who causes the chaos.
Women in Ancient Greece were a minority. Medea is certainly that. She has to suffer the loss of her husband, Jason to daughter of King Creon of Thebes, the city where they live. Because of this, Medea naturally becomes angry and acts in ways considered the opposite of what was expected of a Greek woman.
First, Medea is exiled from Thebes, but is allowed one extra day to prepare for her departure. During that day, though, instead of gathering her things, she gathers her thoughts, and devises brutal plans of vengeance. Later, while confronting her husband after the separation, Medea even reveals that she is plotting against him. "…That this marriage-day/ Will end with marriage lost, loathing and horror left," proving her rage. And, not only does she seek revenge on her ex-husband, but on Creon, the king, and his daughter. Eventually, with the help of her children, she manages to kill the princess by means of a poisoned robe and crown. Creon dies by merely touching his sick daughter's body. Finally, and worst of all, Medea plans on killing her children, for she feels that her children should not live the rest of their lives in sorrow. It is the final step of her plan: "Friends, now my course is clear: as quickly as possible/ To kill the children and then fly from Corinth." And, in front of Jason, she murders their two sons. But not long thereafter she is en route to Athens, where the king has granted her a place to live. With her gone, Thebes' order is restored and eventually brought back to its normal state. The end of the play, as told by a Chorus (who narrate throughout the play), explains that gods bring "surprising ends to many matters.

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" It is true; for though the peace may not be ongoing, it is the ultimate result.
Creon knew that Medea would plot against him or Jason. So, as king, he wisely chose to have her exiled. Even Medea accepted the punishment (though after being told that she could live at Athens) but wanted one more day. In that extra day she caused more discord in Thebes than the Thebans had ever seen. Medea made it perfectly clear that when she was angry, she was a violent force to overcome. As she takes the exile, and, in ways, affirms the peace that her king tries to maintain, she acknowledges that her leaving is the only feasible way to reestablish peace in Thebes. She is right, as after she left, harmony returns. The marriage-day did leave loathing and horror, but Thebes would be left with accord and order for a long period of time.




Bibliography:

Medea (Euripedes)
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