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Is Medea Repellent?

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Introduction

Is Medea Repellent? For what reasons would a modern or Greek audience find Medea so 'repellent'? - Do we find her repellent because of her quality of rage? - Her behaviors are extreme, as are her emotions. She is described as "wild with love" "wild with love" - Her sacrifice of everything for the love of one man could be considered unreasonable by some. Therefore, for these people it may also be impossible to understand the quality and quantity of her rage against him. "Jason was my whole life" " Her world has turned to enmity, and wounds her where her affection is deepest" "It has crushed my heart" - The Greeks were very interested in extremes of emotions. They enjoyed seeing the consequences of letting these emotions go unchecked and unguarded. - "Medea is an example of passion carried too far, she chooses revenge over mercy and reason" - Do people find this need for revenge a repelling characteristic in Medea? - Some would argue that the appeal of revenge is what makes Medea so popular. ...read more.

Middle

seen you growing up, becoming prosperous" "my pain is more than I can bear" " What makes me cry with pain is the next thing I have to do. I will kill my sons," - Even the chorus and nurse have mixed feelings concerning Medea as they watch her actions with a mix of horror and excitement. "Look down on the accursed woman before she lifts up a murderous hand to pollute it with her children's blood" Nurse: " A frightening woman" - Does Medea's greatness and pride draw us to her or do we find her arrogant and repellent as a result? - In Greek society there was a fascination with the thin line between greatness and humility. All through their literature we see that there are the same traits which can make a man or woman 'great' also lead to enormous pain and suffering on their part and eventually their downfall. - Medea possesses some of the traits of a great heroine but Euripides has twisted them so that they are not perfect. Medea's heroic quality is marred by her extremes. ...read more.

Conclusion

- The Greeks gave certain traits to 'outsiders' or 'barbarians' these would have been evident in Medea and would have made her repellent for the Greek audience. - For the Greeks, exile was seen as a fate worse than death. This is difficult for a modern audience to grasp and would have added to her repellent qualities at the time. Medea's cleverness and intellect are beyond a doubt of a greater quality than many of her counter parts. These talents that should have made her popular only made her more repellent to the Greek audience... Aristotle describes why when he says the " unscrupulously clever woman so distasteful as to be a subject unfit for drama." The people around her, while not as clever and talented as Medea, have what she lacks in their social power and respect. " Hers is the damaged and distorted pride of a woman, condescended to for her sex and her barbarian origin, who is nonetheless superior to everyone around her. After all she has suffered, in some ways Medea is most infuriated when she is ridiculed by fools." ...read more.

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