Fate in Medea
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Observation and Interpretation: Throughout the text, fate and the gods are blamed for the cause of the problems, however subsequent choices made later on by the characters appear to be free will, however are actually influenced by fate and the gods. So what?: This makes the audience blame the gods for the overall out come, but still blame the main character for her choices. Quotes: P48 l. 1014-1015 "The gods/ And my evil-hearted plots have led to this." P39 l. 717 "What good luck chance has brought you." P61 l. 1416-1419 "Many matters the gods bring to surprising ends./ The things we thought would happen do not happen;/ The unexpected God makes possible;/ And such is the conclusion of this story." To an ancient Greek, fate was thought of as the power that determined all of our destinies, although a person could make choices along their life to change small outcomes, which was the extent of free will.
Medea also explicitly blames the gods of the outcome of the play, since her evil-hearted plans stem from her love for Jason. However, the choices made in her throughout the book, appear to be free will. The most prominent section of the play that is associated with free will is when Medea makes the choice to murder her children. At this part, Medea is torn between the decision to kill her children or take them away with her. The mere presence of her indecision shows that it is free will which will determine the outcome. Her original plan was to kill the children, yet at one point she says, "Why should I hurt them...Myself? I won't do it." (1044,1046) However at the end she responds to herself with, "The thing's done now." which affirms that the children's fates are sealed. (1062) Her circumlocution shows that despite her efforts to consider an alternative, she still arrives at the same ending; killing her children.
One of the more obvious parts of the play that can be seen as more fate, than free will, is Aegeus's arrival in Corinth. On the free will side, Aegeus did not have to come to Corinth seeking help about the oracle. However, if the oracle was not so confusing, Aegeus would not have needed to come to Corinth, leaving Medea with nowhere to go. Medea supports this by saying, "What good luck chance has brought you." (717) The "chance" that Medea is talking about is the oracle itself, and the situation around it. Therefore fate, in this case, is more prominent than the free will. Fate, it appears to be lurking behind every choice, every action, and every event that takes place in the play. For the audience, this makes them blame the gods for the overall outcome of the play, however the audience still sees the individual choices made by the character, to be the fault of the character. Although, through much thinking, the audience will start to see the fate behind the actions, therefore the whole play is just fate.
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