"Medea" By Euripides. Essay

1032 words - 4 pages

Throughout the play Medea by Euripides, Jason extends a helping hand to the dispossessed Medea. This kind gesture extends from Jason's guilty conscience over his engagement to the princess of Corinth. Through the abolition of guilt, false justification is built. There are three types of justifications shown. Firstly, justification through intentions which is shown by Jason; secondly, justification through fear which is shown by Kreon, and thirdly, justification through hurt feelings, which is shown by Medea. These justifications condemn Jason to a fate worse than death.The first type of justification, which is shown by Jason, is justification through intentions. Jason first tries to justify his betrayal of Medea through the account of his intentions. Through this account he hopes to escape certain death, but in trying to do so, he ensures the death of his new wife, father in-law and children. Jason justification for his engagement is as follows: "this was the main reason, that we might live well, and not be short of anything [...] also that I might bring my children up worthy of my position." (Lines 547-551) Through this excuse Jason hopes to calm the nerves of the raging Medea, as well as escape any retribution she may seek to claim. Jason's justification is not without cause. His cause is his guilty conscience. Jason feels guilt for what he has done to Medea and feels that by offering previsions and a justification for his previous actions, this guilt will be absolved. If Jason feels like he did nothing wrong, then he would not have to provide a justification for his actions, but in doing so he tries to reassure himself that his decision was a wise one. Further on, Jason reaffirms his justification, not for the sake of Medea's well being, but for the well being of his honour. He insists that "it was not because of a woman I made the royal alliance in which I now live, but, as I said before, I wished to preserve you and breed a royal progeny to be brothers to the children I have now, a sure defense to us." (Lines 581-585) More than Jason's life is at stake, for if Medea were to spread the word across the land that "Jason is a worthless man", his family honour would also be at risk. By justifying his actions through his intentions, Jason rids himself of his guilt and his new wife and father.The second type of justification, which is shown by Kreon, is justification through fear. Kreon uses fear as his justification for exiling Medea. Kreon openly admits that he fears for his life and the life of his daughter, and has good reason too. After Medea's open threats that she would seek revenge on Jason new bride and father-in-law, Kreon fells it safer to banish her rather than risk death. Kreon uses Medea's violent threats as an excuse to abolish all of Jason's distractions which would prevent him from paying less then 100 percent of his attention to his daughter. This eradication of Jason's divided attention may also be to...

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