Is There more than one villain in Medea?’. Discuss
The tragedy ‘Medea’ written by Euripides contrasts the actions taken by the protagonist Medea and the antagonist Jason. While each of them arranges different things in life, it is clear at the end of the play, that their actions, which decreased from selfishness have brought sufferings onto others as well as themselves. However, through the undoing of the play, Euripides also suggests that these actions may, in fact, be a way to uphold justice, depending on the different perspectives.
Jason’s betrayal is not only a product of his ambition but also as a result of the values held in Ancient Greek society. Whilst Medea thought Jason has fallen ‘hopelessly in love with a new bride’ and therefore abandoned her, Jason, however, justified his choice in his dialogue to Medea, by his aspiration to ‘ensure … prosperity’. His relentless peruse to restore his family’s royal name and status may even seem plausible, especially considering the toll it has taken on his family and his relationship with Medea at the end of the play when he lost everything. Whilst some viewers might not agree with this, for Medea had sacrificed so much, only to be abandoned later, it is always important to note that in ancient Greek society it was the norm for men to take many wives. Although in today’s society this is simply outrageous, Jason was ‘not so different from the rest of mankind’ back in his time. Thus, while Medea is clearly the victim of Jason’s containable ego, and reckless treatments, his actions, however, is justified by reason and the value of the society to some degree.
On the other hand, Medea based all her decisions on the purpose of revenge. At the start, she ‘seeks to please [Jason] in all she does’, but as soon as she felt a sense of disloyalty from him, her whole manner changed. She not only became hysterical but also vowed to ‘make corpses three of [her] enemies’ in her aside, foreshadowing the vile actions of her revenge. She stayed true to her words by poisoning Creon and Glauce to avenge her ‘bridal bed’ and killing her two children, because she knew this would hurt Jason the most. For these children, not only were the symbolism of their now-perished love, but *sons were also considered a pivotal aspect of a man’s life in ancient Greece, who not only passes on his name but also his legacy*. This...