Euripides' Medea - Exposing the True Nature of Mankind Essay

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Euripides' Medea - Exposing the True Nature of Mankind

“Euripides is not asking us [the audience] to sympathise with Medea…”

This famous quote delivered by HDF Kitto from Greek Tragedy (p. 197), is a powerful and controversial statement. Medea audiences from around the world have expressed both similar and contrary opinions, and raised further enigmas regarding the subject. This essay will explore this statement as well as relating topics from different perspectives, and finally conclude with the author’s perception.

First of all, when attempting to determine the message that the playwright is trying to convey through his drama, one must take into account the role and importance, which the tragic hero plays in the drama, as this is a
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The way in which Medea’s sorrows are described so dramatically makes it almost impossible for the audience to not feel strong empathy towards Medea. There is no question – Jason has wronged Medea. And Jason’s arguments and retorts to Medea seem so absurd that they only reflect negatively upon him, and thus strengthen our sympathy towards Medea. This is particularly so when Jason says, “ But you women have reached a state where, if all’s well with your sex-life, you’ve everything you wish for; but when that goes wrong, at once all that is best and noblest turns to gall. If only children could be got some other way, without the female sex! If women didn’t exist, human life would be rid of all its miseries .” 4 This speech further emphasizes the injustice of the Greek society towards women and confirms the seemingly impossible-to-win situation which Medea is in.

Medea is humanized in the scene where she weeps for her children, and we see that she is not so thoroughly malevolent after all. Her cold, vindictive and vicious demeanor is softened by her maternal instincts and we almost begin to forgive her. When she presents her children to Jason, she even becomes tearful as she thinks about the children’s morality. This is the first and only time in the play where Medea weeps not for herself but for someone else. It is in these moments that we are shown that Medea feels remorse for her actions

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