The Role Of Minor Characters In Medea

2210 words - 9 pages

As the famous Greek playwright Euripides once said: “Stronger than lover's love is lover's hate. Incurable, in each, the wounds they make.” Such ideas are portrayed in one of him most famous plays, Medea. Medea is a fascinating work centered on the Greek goddess Medea. When it was first released, this play was unfashionable due to the controversial concepts it presents. Euripides was unpopular since he used what would be considered a “modern” view where he would focus on women, slaves and persons from the lower classes. The characters in his plays are very relatable and realistic as they express weaknesses and emotions. Unlike most playwrights during his time, Euripides strayed from the involvement of gods in the plot on his plays. In the play, Medea murders her children for the sake of her pride and dignity, but also for their future. This act of filicide is considered very horrendous at the first glance. Nonetheless, as the audience is guided through it they experience the catharsis, inevitably they feel some level of compassionate towards Medea. In order to achieve this empathy, Euripides utilizes the Chorus, the Nurse, and the Children- all are which minor characters in the play. Granting these characters often have overlapping roles and guide the audience towards the same concept, at some topics they disagree or contradict each other.
The Chorus in Medea consists of middle-aged Corinthian women who are present on stage throughout the entire act. In the origins and Greek plays the Chorus was the only character on the stage and they were used to tell the story. Although later on as more characters were added to stage, the Chorus’s role was more limited and they decreased in numbers. Their function is not limited to the traditional roles as in Medea, they defy their customary role and instead they give their opinion on the happening in the play and directly speak to the characters. Throughout the piece, they voice the audience’s thoughts, feelings, and questions towards the play, while elaborating on the consequences of the actions. The Chorus portrays their compassion towards Medea as they say “I heard her voice, I heard that unhappy woman from Colchis” (p.21), they chiefly portray the extreme sadness and discontent which Medea experiences and the extent of the pain Jason inflicted on her. This idea is enforced this idea throughout the play as they say that Medea is “still crying, not calm yet” (p.21). Furthermore, they indicate that whilst Medea is sorrowful, she also is full of rage and hatred towards Jason’s betrayal. The Chorus questions the extent of her hate as they tell her that “If your husband is won to a new love-/The thing is common; why let it anger you?” (p. 22). Although the Chorus is very compassionate and supportive, they question her actions while simultaneously voicing the concerns that the audience feels. In the same time, they let the audience know of the internal conflict in Medea, as “this passion of hers is an...

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