Thoughts on Medea

After reading the epic adventures of Odysseus in The Odyssey, the shorter, more personal and more tragic Medea was quite a change of pace for me.  Several things stood out at me in this play: the depiction of the female and the tragic hero Jason.

Greek society is very patriarchal.  The women basically have no rights.  Their husbands are chosen for them, their path is basically laid out from when they were born.  In Medea though, the play shows the consequences of what happens when one is unfaithful to his wife.  What makes this message more powerful is that Medea is ultimately successful in punishing Jason for his unfaithfulness because he had broken his oath to the Gods.  Hence the play portrays the message that should a man betray his oath to his women, he should expect not only her curse, but divine punishment.  This message is very feministic  making Medea stand out from other Greek plays.

I read an abridged version of how Jason took the Golden Fleece from Daulaire’s bookof Greek Myths.  What I remember is that basically Medea did most of the work once Jason got to the island of the Golden Fleece.  She also sacrificed much to get him the fleece as by helping Jason, she alienated herself from her family who was in possession of the Fleece at the time.  In return, Jason gave his oath to lover her.  I have to say that Jason, by abandoning Medea who got him the Golden Fleece, left her home to follow him and gave him two sons basically sealed his fate when he decided to marry Creon’s daughter.  I mean… what man would not want such a devoted wife?  I may be harsh, but for a very short moment, I felt like telling Jason “Good riddance!” when Medea killed the Princess, for Jason basically brought his fate upon himself through one fatal mistake.

Medea also made me question on the idea of justice and how far can you take it before you become a monster.  Medea’s actions, were in the Gods view, justified, proven when Helios sends chariots to take her away.  I thought that killing the Princess and Creon was justified, but killing her own sons to hurt her husband?  While I do think Jason indirectly caused their death and Medea’s action of killing her sons was the result, I think that it was overkill and she became monstrous in my eyes.

That’s all for now.


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