Medea And Other Plays By Euripides

1476 words - 6 pages

A hero is person who is willing to sacrifice themselves for the betterment of society. In contrast to a hero, a villain is a person who inflicts harm upon society for their own sake. In Euripides’ play “Medea”, Medea is a character that fits into the characteristics of a villain. After her husband Jason betrays her, Medea undergoes a transformation from a helpless woman to a sadistic killer. Though she does display a positive role upon society with her fight against male dominance, Medea is a true villain with her ability to manipulate people and her thirst for vengeance.
During the Ancient Greece era, females were regarded lesser than males and therefore had no place within society. But Medea, unlike most women during her time, stood up to the male dominated society. Instead of quietly accepting Jason’s marriage with a younger woman, Medea instead “[relieves her] feelings by denouncing [her husband]” and she states that “[Jason] will grieve to hear [her]” (Euripides 472-473). Medea only does not listen to Jason’s command, she also threatens him by saying that he will regret his choice. Later when Jason talks to Medea, he states that he must “escape the wearisome storm of [Medea’s] words” (Euripides 521-522). With the use of nautical imagery, Jason compares Medea’s voice to that of a powerful storm. This contradicts the stereotypical portrayal of women in Ancient Greece as they are viewed as weak beings. After killing her children, Medea tells Jason that “[he] shall never lay a hand on [her]” (Euripides 1320-1322). Even in modern society, many women fall victim towards domestic violence from their husbands. Medea stands up to Jason’s abuse and shows no signs of fear due to this resistance. The chorus of the play even shares Medea’s feminist ideology as they feel that “honor is coming to the female sex” and that “women will be free from the bitter tongue of slander” (Euripides 419-420). The chorus is composed of only women and throughout the play, they sympathize and praise Medea for her actions against male dominance. The chorus also criticizes Jason’s decision of marrying Creon’s daughter for royalty by saying that Jason is a “wretched man” who “[brings] destruction on [his] children’s lives” (Euripides 990-995). The chorus tries to imply that men, no matter what their place in society is, can be cruel. Medea insults Jason by saying that he is a “man who is no man” and that he is an enemy “to the Gods, to [her], and the whole human race” (Euripides 466-469). Though Jason is a man of status, Medea says that he is not worthy of his position. Medea tries to show that she is not “weak and submissive” but instead “dangerous to [her] enemies and good to [her] friends” (Euripides 808-810). With Medea’s stance against male dominance, she is a hero to many women during her time. But Medea is not the perfect hero that one would think she is. Medea manipulates people to get whatever she wants. Instead of showing consistent heroic traits, Medea show very...

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