Essay by bb9452University, Bachelor'sA+, February 2005

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First produced in 431 B.C., Euripides Medea tells the story of the revenge of a woman betrayed by her husband, Jason. The methodical approach Medea used in getting her revenge might seem normal in modern society, but in the ancient Greek society of 431 B.C. it was seen as rebellious and extreme. Women were considered little more than servants used for cleaning and breeding, basically dispensable with very few rights. Jason, the husband who betrayed Medea, is a hero. The fact that he cast Medea aside to marry the princess of Corinth after she had sacrificed her brother's life and betrayed her own family to be with Jason was acceptable by Greek standards, and clearly shows the lesser role women played in society. Obviously someone in this tragic tale is the villain. But Whom?

By leaving his wife, the mother of his children, to be with another woman, would certainly mean Jason is nothing less than a no good, untrustworthy, and unfaithful husband.

He does, however, offer to find Medea and their two sons a place to live. Does that make him a villain. Not by the standards of the time. It makes him quite common. Jason provides great insight into the attitude toward women when he says that if Medea had kept quiet and accepted the fact he was with someone else, she would still have her home: "This is not the first occasion that I have noticed how hopeless it is to deal with a stubborn temper. For, with reasonable submission to our ruler's will, you might have lived in this land and kept your home. As it is you are going to be exiled for your loose speaking"(15). Yet, while seeming not to care what happens to Medea, he shows compassion by telling her he...