Medea by Euripides

Written by Gracie Cooper. Posted in Books

First produced in 431 BC, Medea by Euripides is an ancient Greek tragedy which is based on Jasons’s and Medea’s myth. The action is focused on Medea, the barbarian protagonist who is betrayed by her husband Jason, who chooses to marry royalty, Glauce instead of choosing the mother of his children.

The excuse Jason offers Medea when he confronts her is that he couldn’t refuse the chance to marry a princess, while she is only a barbarian, but that he hopes one day to reunite both families and to keep Medea as his mistress.

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When the play opens, we can see a desperate woman who cries because of her loss, a person who hit the rock bottom someone who feels so bad that even the persons around her fear that she might hurt herself or her children.

Even Glauce’s father, King Creon has decided to take measures against Medea, so he is determined to send her into exile. She asks for the protection of the King of Athens, Aegus and she promises him that in order to repay him, she will help his wife conceive a child. Aegus accepts and he will offer her refuge.

Medea is determined to kill Creon and his daughter and she is plotting on how she can do it. She also wants to make Jason suffer and regret his decision and she will choose the most cruel way to do that.

In order to achieve the revenge she so much wants, she comes up with the idea to poison some robes and to offer them to Creon and Glauce; she wants to make them believe that she regrets all the bad things she said and that she wants to make peace. In order to seem more convincing, she sends her children with the gifts. Her offer is accepted and Medea’s plan works perfectly: Glauce can’t resist, she tries the robes and she will have a painful death just like her father.

The first part of her plan is accomplished, and the only person left to suffer is Jason; she chooses to sacrifice their own children, not because they did something wrong, but because she is convinced that this is the best way to hurt Jason.

Medea by Euripides presents a woman who was betrayed so badly by the man she loved that she becomes blinded by her wish for revenge. She had given Jason everything she had, she left her family for him, even saved his life by killing a dragon, she gave him children and this is how he repays her? She is a deceived woman who thinks that the best way for the people who made her suffer to understand the way she feels is to make them pay for what they did to her.

The play is a story about betrayed dreams and feelings, about people letting go to those who stood by their side when no one else did, about wanting to achieve grandeur and a better social position by giving up the most important things.

Medea by Euripides is mostly read as a feminist text because it explores the disadvantages of being a woman in a society ruled by men, and presents the limits a person can break when everything around them crumbles.