Medea Literary Analysis

1714 Words 7 Pages
Greek and Roman authors describe female foreigners in almost diametric terms within the same works, creating a contradictory narrative. Due to Greek and Roman gender roles, women were meant to be subservient. To uphold cultural expectations for female characters, authors had to characterize them as weak. However, for the story to uphold cultural expectations regarding foreigners, the very same characters had to be described as violent and unstable. These opposing ideas lead to a dual view of the same characters. This paradox to how non-citizen women are viewed has created two separate personalities with which these characters are described. Rather than a holistic interpretation of foreign women, Greek and Roman authors commonly fall into a …show more content…
She was a non-Greek who betrayed her homeland and family. Her friends and enemies both acknowledge her as a formidable threat. Even the woman who watches her beloved children believes “She is frightening. It won't be easy for an enemy to come out victorious in a battle with her” (Eur. Med. 43-44). Because Medea is the other, the frightening foreigner, she cannot be anything but savage and angry; unlikely to listen to reason. This point is further exaggerated by Creon, who believes Medea incapable of allowing the marriage to stand. Indeed, it is due to her non-Greek status that Jason married another, and it is due to her non-Greek status that she will use trickery and witchcraft to seek vengeance. Medea cannot be trusted to listen to reason because of the Greek view on foreigners. Both Jason and Creon believe that Medea is beyond reason and incapable of objective thinking. Jason tries to persuade Medea that he is helping their children by setting her aside; due to her status as non-Greek, their children are not citizens. However, Creon believes Medea is spiteful and wild due to her intelligence, which is unbefitting of a …show more content…
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