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Medea Essay

2341 words - 9 pages

MEDEAFirst produced in 431 B.C., Euripides Medea tells the story of the revenge of a woman betrayed by her husband, Jason. The methodical approach Medea used in getting her revenge might seem normal in modern society, but in the ancient Greek society of 431 B.C. it was seen as rebellious and extreme. Women were considered little more than servants used for cleaning and breeding, basically dispensable with very few rights. Jason, the husband who betrayed Medea, is a hero. The fact that he cast Medea aside to marry the princess of Corinth after she had sacrificed her brother's life and betrayed her own family to be with Jason was acceptable by Greek standards, and clearly shows the lesser role women played in society. Obviously someone in this tragic tale is the villain. But Whom?By leaving his wife, the mother of his children, to be with another woman, would certainly mean Jason is nothing less than a no good, untrustworthy, and unfaithful husband. He does, however, offer to find Medea and their two sons a place to live. Does that make him a villain. Not by the standards of the time. It makes him quite common. Jason provides great insight into the attitude toward women when he says that if Medea had kept quiet and accepted the fact he was with someone else, she would still have her home: "This is not the first occasion that I have noticed how hopeless it is to deal with a stubborn temper. For, with reasonable submission to our ruler's will, you might have lived in this land and kept your home. As it is you are going to be exiled for your loose speaking"(15). Yet, while seeming not to care what happens to Medea, he shows compassion by telling her he will provide for her and the children and "Certainly exile brings many troubles with it. And even if you hate me, I cannot think badly of you"(15). Jason proved to be very self-centered and egotistical when he proclaimed that by marrying into the King's family he was helping Medea and the children, "But - this was the main reason - that we might live well, and not be short of anything"(18). Jason considered Medea a barbarian, and he did not want to raise his children with a barbarian mother, but one of royalty, "Also that I might bring my children up worthily of my position, and , by producing more of them to be brothers of yours, we would draw the families together and all be happy"(18). Even though Jason's behavior may have been reprehensible, even though he was callous and uncaring, he acted like men of that time were expected to act. Jason considered women to be inferior to men and basically thought that if there were another way to have children, there was no need for women, "But you women have gotten into such a state of mind that, if your life at night is good, you think you have everything; but, if in that quarter things go wrong, you will consider your best and truest interests most hateful. It would have been better far for men to have got their children in some other way, and women not to...

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