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Betrayal and Revenge in Medea

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Introduction

Betrayal and Revenge In his quest for the Golden Fleece, Jason elicits Medea, a women known for her supernatural powers. Shortly after, they marry. Yet, after all Medea does for Jason-including killing her own brother-he decides to leave her and marry the Corinthian Princess to increase his own wealth and status. Thus, to avenge her husband for his betrayal, Medea kills the princess and the children she herself had with Jason, thus ensuring his complete downfall. Upon hearing of the sacrifice of the children and the murder of his bride-to-be, Jason expresses the extent of his devastation and hatred towards Medea. In this passage from Euripides's Medea, Euripides reveals both Medea's cruelty and ruthlessness and the effect of her revenge on Jason-his complete destruction. ...read more.

Middle

Jason also reveals the degree of Medea's cruelty by describing her as "loathed by the gods" and "all of mankind"(43). In addition to revealing Medea's cruelty, these phrases suggest that Medea's actions are horrible enough to become infamous among all humankind. Jason also comments that "there is no Greek woman who would have dared such deeds"(43). Such characterization sets Medea apart and magnifies the cruelty of her actions. However, Jason's comment also shows how he views women in Greek society as frail and gentle. Otherwise, why wouldn't he have said "there is no Greek that would have dared such deeds?" Cleary, Euripides uses Jason to reveal Medea's callousness in her quest for revenge. In the passage, Euripides also reveals Jason's detachment and inability to grasp the significance of what Medea gave up for him. ...read more.

Conclusion

These lines reveal Jason's disconnect. When she killed her brother, Medea saw her actions as necessary to help Jason, her true love. Thus, she sacrificed the acceptance and love of family for the love and acceptance she received from Jason. Not only does Jason's inability to recognize Medea's sacrifices in this passage reveal his disconnect, but it also reveals his selfishness. Regardless of whether Jason is deserving of Medea's revenge, he is left completely devastated and without hope for the future. For him, there is little to live for. In fact, he tells Medea "for me remains to cry aloud upon my fate, who will get no pleasure from my newly wedded love. And the boys whom I begot and brought up, never shall I speak to them alive"(44). Finally, he comments "oh, my life is over." Thus, Medea fulfills her ultimate goal-ruthlessly punishing Jason for the pain he inflicted upon her. ...read more.

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