Euripides’s Medea is a story which really highlights a lot of dark traits within humans. It’s difficult to find a protagonist in the story. While at first I thought it was Medea, because I felt sympathy for her, but as the story progressed, and she sought out her revenge, I slowly began to think of Jason as the protagonist. I felt like Euripides left the viewer (he intended it to be performed as a play) caught between these two sides, forced to pick one. Jason was doing his best to look out for his children, while Medea is completely left out in the cold, alone, without support.
While Medea’s actions could be categorized as an overreaction, Jason’s can definitely be seen as selfish and driven by a desire to be accepted. While we could try and answer the question “Who is wrong?”, it seems like everyone is wrong in a way. That’s what makes this play very realistic, there’s no righteous and pure character. Jason is an oathbreaker, betraying the love of his life without even blinking. On the other hand, Medea not only murders Jason’s future wife, she murders her own children, taking the lives of maybe the only innocent characters of this play.
While there’s plenty to think about regarding the play, I definitely liked it. The interaction with the chorus was very interesting, and I liked how at a certain point the chorus wasn’t just cheering on Medea. When she brought up the idea of killing her children, the chorus took the other side, trying to convince her that maybe murdering her children wasn’t the best idea. Another aspect of the play I really enjoyed was how Medea and Jason truly argued with words. We got to see both sides, Jason’s reasons, as well as Medea’s emotions reflecting her abandonment.
I think Euripides wrote this very much to make people think. To make them think of what humans are possible of when put under pressure. He wanted to show the monstrosity behind Medea’s actions, but especially the monstrosity behind Jason and all the others who rejected Medea. There was one thing however that I didn’t like very much, it was the way Medea is able to escape. Using Helios’s chariot as a free escape left me a little unsatisfied. I wanted to see repercussions regarding Medea’s actions. In the end, I guess I was left wanting more.