Medea and Antigone are two stories of passion drove women. Together the women of these stories break the law of man and go against the laws of gods both characters are controlled by their emotion. Medea and Antigone are both strong, sometimes- manipulative, Medea more than Antigone. The themes of both stories; in my mind, are women, passion, and spiritual beliefs. They also are drove by the actions of men in their lives. Both are very morally different and their actions are on completely different reasons.
Medea maybe the most conflicted of the two characters. She seems to have the most going on in this story. Medea is often very demanding in getting what it is that she wants. She will do what she needs to do in order to get what she wants. Medea killed many people, including her own sons and a princess, in order to only spite her unlawful and cheating husband.
Medea can be consider an early, when she speaks out against women's status in society, proclaiming that they have no choice of whom to marry, and that a man can rid themselves of a woman to get another whenever he wants, but a woman always has to "keep eyes on one alone." (231-247 Medea) Medea lied and cheated friends to try to acquire time in order to get what she wants. In this case what she wants is revenge of husband. She tricks a friend to give her asylum in Athens after she has committed her insane task. Medea even goes so far as to be able to con Creon, the king himself into giving her an extra day. Medea kills out of pure revenge and spite for Jason. She plots for weeks to kill Jason's new bride and poisons her, and then before she leaves the country she murders her two sons, she had with Jason, before she rides off in her bright white chariot. "I will send the children with gifts...to the bride...and if she wears them upon her skin...she will die." (784-788 Medea) When she tells the chorus of the plans to kill the children, they wonder if she has the heart to kill her children, to which she replies, "yes, for this is the best way to wound my husband." (817 Medea).
Even though some of Medea's actions were not typical of the average women but you can relate to where she is coming from. She may be considered heartless but she struggles to decide if she can accomplish her goal of revenge against Jason without killing her children because she cares for them and knows they had no part in what their father Jason did. Unfortunately, Medea's desire to exact revenge on Jason is greater than her love for her children, and at the end of the play she kills them. Medea was also a faithful wife to Jason. She talks about how she helped Jason in his quest for the Golden Fleece, and then helped him escape, even killing her own brother. (476-483 Medea) Secondly, she shows the courage to stand up to Jason. She believes that she has been cheated and betrayed by him. By planning ways to get back at him for cheating on her, she is standing up for what she believes, which in this case is that she was wronged by Jason, but in a larger sense, she is speaking out against the inferior status of women, which effectively allows Jason to discard Medea at will. She shows that she is clever and resourceful. Rather than use physical force to accomplish her plans, she uses her mind instead: "it is best to...make away with them by poison." (384-385 Medea) while physical strength can be considered a heroic quality, cleverness can be as well. She poisons the princess and the king of Corinth. However, she does not poison themdirectly; this shows her cleverness because she is trying to keep from being linked to the crime, though everyone is able to figure out that she was responsible anyway.
Antigone she is defies the law of a king to uphold the law of her spiritual belief. She tries her hand at manipulation but is not as successful as Medea. Antigone tries, with no purpose, to persuade her sister, Ismene, to help her give their brother Polyneices a proper burial. This decision, to bury her brother, was very heroic in that even though she knew death was at stake, she knew where her loyalties lied. (560-575 Antigone)Antigone stands up to her uncle and tells him to his face that he has disobeyed the Gods decrees. "I did not intend to pay, before the gods, /for breaking these laws/because of my fear of one man and his principles." (562-4 Antigone)She accuses Creon of overstepping the laws of the gods, by relying on his own thinking. As is brought out later, Creon never listened to other people's advice until it was too late. Antigone boldly faces up to the most powerful man, the King, knowing he could kill her in an instance, but still she tells him he is wrong. Antigone is unselfish, respectful, and virtuous; therefore, she makes the finest decision in the play. Also Antigone's decision is wise because it shows her unselfishness through her action. Although her deed is wrong in the eyes of the law, it is true in her heart. When she says, "But I will bury him; and if I must dieÃ¢ÂÂ¦I shall lie down with him in death, and I shall be as dear to him as him to Me." (Antigone 168). she shows that she is prepared to sacrifice herself for her brother, which is very unselfish. Antigone tells Creon that it is up to the gods to judge her actions. Creon is made aware by his son Harmon that "there is no city possessed by one man only' (Antigone 189). Creon then asks "is not the city thought to be the ruler's?" (Antigone 189) Just because he is the ruler, he thinks he can control everything and the thoughts to the people.
Medea and Antigone are both strong, sometimes-manipulative characters but have different moral settings that control what they do. They can be independent, and act on their own to get what they. The women do what must be done in order to obtain their objective whether it calls for breaking the law falling. They may do things for different reasons but in the end they get it.
Works Cited: Euripedes. The Medea. Trans. Rex Warner. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1992.
Sophocles: Antigone, Trans David Grene and Richmond Lattimore. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press, 1992.