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hell hath no fury like a woman scorned. is this a more apt description of medea or clytemnestra?

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Introduction

"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned". Is this a more apt description of Clytemnestra or Medea? Both Clytemnestra and Medea are tragic characters who have been deeply hurt at the hands of their husbands. Clytemnestra's much loved daughter was sacrificed by her husband for reasons that debatably weren't necessary. And Medea's husband left her for another woman, leaving Medea without anything. Both these acts cause the women to cite revenge. On top of the sacrifice of their daughter, Agamemnon had left Clytemnestra to fend for herself while he went off to war. She hasn't seen her husband for the ten years he's been awa, and when he finally does come home after being victorious, he brings with him a sex-slave; Cassandra, so not only does Clytemnestra have to live with the knowledge that her husband has been unfaithful, she gets the privilege of meeting the woman that has been entertaining him. Even though this unfaithfulness does little to enrage her in comparison to the sacrifice, it does push Clytemnestra over the edge, and so with her lover she plots the murder of Agamemnon and his concubine. She seems like a level-headed character because her ten year planning appears to be justified because she has been hurt in the worst possible way; by having her child murdered. ...read more.

Middle

They both feel that death is the only justifiable action for what their husbands have done. The big difference is that Medea doesn't want to kill her husband. She wants him to live a long life of pain- pain caused by death that will occur around him, his new wife, his step-father and most importantly, his sons. I feel this is a worse punishment than the quick way out through death. In her opening speech, the Nurse tells the audience that Medea is unstable. She is presented more like a dangerous character than a tragic one. Any of her tragic flaws could damage other characters more than herself, and that's exactly what happens. Later on the Nurse warns the children to avoid their mother because of her dangerous mood, and soon after, Medea even curses the children herself. She's clearly in a hazardous state. After this, before she has even committed her biggest crime we can see that she should not be scorned. Someone so unstable could do anything to get their revenge, and that's exactly what she does. After killing Glauce and her father, she has left Jason without the spouse, and the royalty of Creon's kingdom. This seems like an apt punishment, because Jason deprived Medea of her spouse and royalty too. ...read more.

Conclusion

This may make her seem like a more frightening and cold character, but because Medea does show regret, I feel it makes her actions seem more unjustifiable, because she has done things that she knows she would suffer for, but she does them anyway. We can also forgive Clytemnestra more easily because her main victim was guilty of wronging her. It's fair to say that Cassandra did nothing to upset Clytemnestra of her own freewill, but as a slave she isn't taken into account in this context. The repercussions of Medea's actions however are felt on a much wider scale. She kills her husband's new bride, she kills Creon; and later she kills her children. It's hard to sympathize with these acts because for the most part, the victims are innocent, and the murders are all out of proportion to Medea's reasoning. They show Medea to be unstable, dangerous, and clearly out of her mind. While Clytemnestra comes across has sympathetic, and maybe in some opinions heroic, Medea seems to be a barbaric, cold-blooded killer, killing innocent people that don't need to killed for her revenge to be effective. There are more deaths and more repercussions, in the short term at least [i.e Agamemnon and Clytemnestra won't die until much later on], for everyone as a consequence of Medea's scorn. As a result, I feel the quote is more apt to Medea. ...read more.

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