Medea: Summary

Title of Work: Medea
Country/Culture: Greek
Literary Period: Classical
Type of Literature (genre): Drama/Tragedy
Author: Euripides

Authorial information:
Euripides was born in 484 BC and took up drama at the young age of
25. At most drama competitions, however his plays came in last
place until he was about 45 or 50 years old. In his entire life,
he wrote 92 plays of which only five received first place awards
at competition. . Euripides despised women. He had been married
twice to unfaithful women and had three sons. This hate of women
is shown in his work of Medea.

Author\'s unique style:

Euripides\' characterization of women is considered unique in the
play Medea because the tragic Hero/ine - in this case Jason and
Medea in each one\'s own sense - is done over by a woman after
cheating on her with the princess of the King of Corinth. He
places emphasis on human emotions and individual psychology in
order to help the reader produce a clear picture of the
characters. Medea features strong dramatic situations and a
stirring part for the heroine, whose attitude of feminine pride
and tradition is still popular in today\'s world.

The entire play takes place on the island of Corinth in present
day Greece. Individual places such as Medea/Jason\'s home, and the
palace of the king and princess are also spoken of and used in the
play. It has an ancient Greek setting as well.

Theme: "What goes around comes around."

The theme of revenge in the sense of Medea\'s strong desire to seek
revenge on Jason.

Another possible theme of Medea may be that at times a punishment
of revenge should justify the crime - no matter how severe. Only
a person in such a situation (and greater beings) may know what to
action to take in this position.

Medea - The strong willed woman who would do anything for her
husband is victimized by him and turns deadly. After going to a
great extent to help Jason - killing people to be with him and
married to him - he turns around and marries a younger princess
and leaves Medea and their two children with nothing. This deeply
angers Medea - her tragic flaw appears to be an over excessive
sense of revenge - who goes absolutely berserk and kills the
princess and her children to get back at Jason for leaving her.
She is very decisive and intelligent and had thought through her
actions against Jason before carrying them out.

Jason - The Husband of Medea who leaves her for another woman -
the King of Corinth\'s daughter - claiming it would be better for
both Medea and their children if he "got in good with the king".
Jason obviously is not caring about his wife who actually killed
to be with him. He does however still love his children. His
flaw of apathy or the fact that he is not perseverant causes his
downfall when Medea has his wife (the princess) murdered as well
as his children. This causes Jason to be extremely disturbed -
but it is deserved.

King Aegeus - The present King of Athens who is very sympathetic.
He is friends with Medea and understands her problem. He tells
her that she may come to Athens and seek refuge if she pleases.
He has no children and asks if she will "provide him with some".
In this sense, he is a jolly fellow who assists friends in time of
need. He also provides Medea with a place to go and be protected
after she goes on her killing rampage.

Nurse - The Nurse plays a somewhat minor role and yet influences
the story of Medea. She is employed by Medea to look after the
children but the Nurse also gossips and provides advice and
assistance to Medea. She provides the audience with background
information on the play and puts pieces together of the "big
picture." The Nurse begs Medea to not do anything rash because of
Jason but says that she knows Medea will so that foreshadows the
though of tragedy in the play. She also sympathizes Medea but as
soon as Medea is not looking, the Nurse criticizes her as being
somewhat over reactive.

King Creon - King Creon finds disfavor on Medea for many reasons.
Most of all he believes she may decide to kill his daughter out of

ú "O God, do you hear it, this persecution, these my sufferings
from this hateful woman, this monster, murderess of children?
Still what I can do that I will do: I will lament and cry upon
heaven, calling the gods to bear me witness how you have killed my
boy prevent