A tragedy “Medea” was staged for the first time in 431 B.C. Medea is the first part of a trilogy followed by the dramas “Philoctetes” and “Dyctis”. The author got inspired by the story originated from Greek mythology, questioning love and morality in marriage.
This play is a psychological analysis of a woman who at first felt great, real love which escalated into the uncontrollable madness of revenge, not even sparing her children.
Euripides devotes a great deal of his attention describing realistically mental states and strength of his characters. At the beginning of this tragedy he talks about suspecting at the possibility of the accident that may occur, revealing Medea’s feelings which lead to the horrible revenge and death.
He uses a choir and description of the peaceful city of Athens to provide a contrast, using the members of a choir as heralds of the dark future events.
The language used in this play is quite simple and easy to understand, the language of the ordinary citizens and he accomplishes to create striking and memorable scenes because he simplified the usage of the stylistic figures.
This breathtaking piece of work captures our attention despite it being old for nearly two and a half thousand of years. It will remain his contemporary feel because of the central theme of raging revenge that destroys everything in her path. Medea committed a horrible crime, not even sparing the lives of her children.
Critics find Euripides to be an author who was way before his time, describing the difficult position of women then, using the Medea as a character who confronted that injustice. Nevertheless, her attempt of confronting the norms of society end tragically, becoming a bad example, because death isn’t the solution for problems.
Genre: drama (tragedy)
Theme: Medea’s great love turning into revenge
Idea: The author describes us the universal problem of morals and love, advising us to rethink our actions.When Medea risks all of her life because of love, she couldn’t predict Jason’s infidelity. That brings us to the second theme of this play, the uselessness of revenge. We should be able to remain cold-headed during the hard periods of our life, and learn a lesson out of every situation because hate isn’t real or only remaining solution.
The king Peleus takes over his brothers, Jason’s father, power over the Yolk territory. When Jason became an adult, he asked his uncle to return him those areas, as he earlier promised to do so. His uncle had one condition, for Jason to bring golden fleece from the far land of Colhides, settled by the shore of the Black Sea.
Jason built a ship for the occasion, named it Argo and went on hiss quest, finally reaching his destination after a lot of troubles. He encounters a fight with the dragon who was guarding the golden fleece soon after he arrives, with the help of Medea, king’s daughter and sorcerer.
After the great victory, he marries Medea who killed her brother before the wedding, so he couldn’t follow her, as her father requested. Although Jason kept his promise about bringing the golden fleece, his uncle refused on returning him the kingdom, so Medea revenges him by talking his daughters into murdering him and cutting his dead body.
The son of King Pelin banished Jason and Medea, so they decided to remain living in Corinth with two of their sons. Jason soon falls in love with Glaucus, a daughter of Corinthian King Creon, and they decide to get married.
The tragic begins as Euripides portrays all the features of Medea’s revenge. She decided to take her anger on Creon, Glauca, and her children and then to run away to Athens, using the magical carriage.
The plot now takes place in front of the Medea’s home at a tiny square, where her nanny emphasizes with her bad luck, sensing bigger accidents to happen. Medea dwells over her destiny, and her screams are heard by the choir of Corinthian ladies, who came to express their regret for Medea’s fate. By implementing the choir, Euripides manages to sympathy and regret for Medea among the readers.
After choir finishes the song, empathizing with the Medea, she comes out from her house completely calm, announcing the revenge for her pain. In the meanwhile the king Creon arrives, ordering her to leave the country together with her children. Medea manages to postpone her journey for one day, informing the choir she will use that time for killing Creon, Jason, and Glauca.
Jason arrives and tells Medea he is marrying Glauca as a way of providing a better future for they children. Euripides describes Jason as a mean and dishonest person, who cheats on his wife and leaves their kids because of his egoism. He has not portrayed as the same hero from the Greek myth.
By the end of this scene Medea promises him, she’ll get her revenge for this type of mistreatment. This large and passionate love turns into hate, and her pride tells her she had to get revenge because she still is a daughter of a king and a granddaughter of Helius, the Greek god.
Soon Aegean arrives at Corinth, the ruler of Athens who heard about Medea’s story and offered her shelter in Athens. Medea reveals her plan to the choir.
Medea kills Glauca by using the dress soaked in poison and a magical wedding wreath. During that fight, Creon gets killed as well, and afterward, Medea decides to kill her children as well.
In the end, Medea forbids Jason to touch their dead children and decides to leave with the magical carriage, given to her by her grandfather, the god Helius.
Characters: Medea, Jason, Glauca, the choir, King Creon, Medea’s children
Euripides was one of the most famous Greek authors.There is not a lot of saved information about Euripides, probably one of the reasons for this is his lack of interest for engaging in politics.
He was working as an ambassador in Sicily, considered to be the owner of a house library because of his extreme wealth and education.
He received his education from several different teachers, including famous Socrates as well. Considering his private life and the date of birth,a lot of information are disputable.
One of the sources indicate him being born near the Salamina somewhere in the time of the famous battle being led nearby, and the others believe he was born as the citizen of Athens, 484. B.C.
It is believed he won four or five times at the drama festivals, first time with the lost drama “The Daughters of Pelizaeus”, in 484. B.C.
He leaves Athens 403. B.C. at the invitation of Macedonian king Archelaus, and he allegedly died there as well in 406. B. C.
He is considered to be the author of some 90 different plays. Exact number remains unknown because for some of them authorship isn’t determined. Although, only nineteen of them are kept until today.
In his dramas gods are losing their leading roles, gain some imperfections and lose the spotless images. Euripides equalizes them with humans, entering monologs in his dramas and uses the common language without adding irrelevant figures and descriptions. He is also being considered as a founder of psychological drama.
Some of the researchers tell about his huge post-mortem popularity, although he hasn’t been very popular during his lifetime among the public of Athens. He remains one of the most influencing tragedy writers of all times, although he got recognized after he deceased.
One of his most famous and saved works are “Medea”, “The Children of Hercules”, “Hipolit”, “Electra”, “Troians” etc.