Medea:Looking for Revenge
Medea, a play by the Greek playwright Euripides, explores the
Greek-barbarian dichotomy through the character of Medea, a princess
from the 'barbarian', or non-Greek, land of Colchis. Throughout the
play, it becomes evident to the reader that Medea is no ordinary woman
by Greek standards. Central to the whole plot is Medea's barbarian
origins and how they are related to her actions. In this paper, I am
attempting to answer questions such as how Medea behaves like a female,
how she acts heroically from a male point of view, why she killed her
children, if she could have achieved her goal without killing them, if
the murder was motivated by her barbarian origins, and how she deals
with the pain of killing her children.
As an introduction to the play, the status of women in Greek society
should be briefly discussed. In general, women had very few rights.
the eyes of men, the main purposes of women in Greek society were to do
housework such as cooking and cleaning, and bear children. They could
not vote, own property, or choose a husband, and had to be represented
by men in all legal proceedings. In some ways, these Greek women were
almost like slaves. There is a definite relationship between this
subordination of women and what transpires in the play. Jason decides
that he wants to divorce Medea and marry the princess of Corinth,
casting Medea aside as if they had never been married. This sort of
activity was acceptable by Greek standards, and shows the subordinate
status of the woman, who had no say in any matter like this.
Even though some of Medea's actions were not typical of the average
Greek woman, she still had attitudes and emotions common among women.
For instance, Medea...