• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Is Medea a villain or a victim?

Extracts from this document...


R W Edmond Medea - Villain or Victim? In the Medea, Euripides balances the reaction of moral repellence at the isolated act of Medea?s infanticide with an examination of her motives in an attempt at justification, forcing the audience to re-examine their own conceptions of morality through the lens of Medea?s actions. The antithesis formed between the gravity of Jason?s offences and the abhorrence of Medea?s reaction is the main criterion by which to judge the weight of each character?s wrongdoing. Every offence committed in the play both within and external to the text is performed by Jason or Medea and causes direct harm to the other; Jason is a victim whilst Medea is a villain & vice versa. Initially, we can feel sympathy for Medea for being replaced by Glauce. Medea clearly resents Jason?s decision to take another wife, she comments ?He has taken another wife, and made her mistress of my house?. The concept of the household is key to understanding the extreme anger Medea feels at her replacement. ...read more.


Medea killed her brother, Absyrtus, in order to get away from Colchis. This rendered her an exile in her own homeland, something very precious which she sacrificed for Jason?s love. Now to find that even those in her new home mistrust her is very upsetting for Medea, when she has only committed these crimes in pursuit of the love of the man who has now betrayed her. Jason is very ungrateful towards Medea, she saved his life on his quest for the Golden Fleece, and she has provided him with two sons, with whom Medea has now been burdened. Although Jason does not dislike his children, he has left them for Medea to look after. Medea has now become unaffectionate towards them, because they represent the life and family she and Jason shared. It is difficult to exculpate Jason in this regard - he has let go of those to whom he should be most attached in favour of a younger, royal bride, and, when it comes to the exile of the children, Jason does not fight for them. ...read more.


Medea?s motivations for killing Creon and Glauce, however, run deeper. Just as Jason has ruined Medea?s entire family life, so does Medea seek to destroy his. By killing Glauce and Creon, Medea attacks the dream Jason has had of royal cousins for their two sons - ripping apart his desires and aspirations. This treatment is soul destroying for Jason, who loses both his children, future wife and father-in-law over the course of one day. However, we can argue that it is all a product of his mistreatment of Medea and te children they share. If we then consider both sides of the argument, we can conclude that Medea?s actions, although harsh, were justified by Jason?s disloyalty and disregard for his immediate family. The audiences conception of morality is questioned, do we despise Medea for her actions, or respect her for her iron resolve to destroy Jason??s house and life, as he has hers? Medea is certainly a victim, she has been humiliated by Jason, and disregarded and mistrusted as a foreigner in her new home. Jason is arrogant not to expect a backlash from her, and he pays dearly for his wrongdoings. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Classics essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    Antigone is a saint, whereas Medea is a devil incarnate" do you agree?

    4 star(s)

    Jason is the reason for all of Medea's crimes , before the actions of the play Medea betrays her family, murders her younger brother and flees her homeland all out of her love for Jason. Yet despite her total and utter devotion to Jason and the children they have had together, Jason still leaves her in favor of another woman.

  2. In Euripdes Play Medea

    women that I have made this royal marriage, but as i have already said to ensure your future". However he does not make any mention of this until after Medea has been exiled and he no longer plans to offer this support.

  1. In Euripides Play, how important is it that Medea is a foreigner, not a ...

    Medea cannot work with her as a Greek princess because it would change the entire play, and there might not even be a play. Medea needs to be foreign, nothing can change the play.

  2. Medea betrayed her father to help Jason capture the Golden Fleece. Doing so was ...

    He views himself as having rescued her from a dark and savage land. There would've most likely been some Athenians in the audience who agreed with Jason on this front. We wonder, however, if Euripides is trying to show his audience that they might be just a little bit full of themselves.

  1. "Euripides is not asking us [the audience] to sympathise with Medea..."

    I can endure guilt, however horrible; the laughter of my enemies I will not endure."5 Thus it seems appropriate to say she is compelled by the combination of her 'fatal flaw' and her unfortunate situation to choose the path she did.

  2. Cinderella - play script

    Cinderella gasps) Cinderella: I can't stay! (Starts running. While she's talking, she runs through the ballroom, up the stairs, and outside) Prince: What do you mean? (The Prince follows her) Cinderella: I have to go. Prince: Wait! Come back! I don't even know your name! Lionel: Your Highness, what is it? King: Chris, don't let her get away!

  1. Responding to"The hurricane," and "Medea".

    We achieved this by using cross cutting and split focus, which basically meant two different scenes happening at the same time. The next task was a prison machine. This is a technique used to show what the character would be thinking and imagining.

  2. How do the characters of Antigone in Anouilh's play Antigone and Medea from Euripides's ...

    "Your marriage with a Barbarian was proving a source of no glory for you..." 2 We see Medea acknowledges she cannot compete with the princess in terms of status. She not only realizes she has lost her husband, but also her status and pride, as she has been abandoned and humiliated.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work