An analysis of the cause of meadeas search for revenge
Medea and Violence In the Medea, as in the Bacchae, Euripides makes us confront the darkest possibilities of human behavior; and no literary criticism can do full justice to the spectacle of violence that, as the chorus says, takes the form that is hardest to comprehend, a mother turning murderously upon her own children.
That Medea, carrying off the bodies of her murdered children, should invoke the gods at this point is the culminating irony surrounding divine justice in the play. Yet though she can frame her decision in terms of an "I" that will or will not act e. But Euripides shatters these expectations when, a few lines later, Medea announces her plan of filicide In place of the sheltered, interior space of the house, properly presided over by the 13 28 Charles SEGAL wife and mother, there emerges the chthonic realm and dark magic of the fearful goddess. A person's city-state was home and protector; to wander, without friends or shelter, was considered a fate as horrible as death. She did not want her children to have to suffer through that. She will not leave her children behind for her enemies to kill; and in a version of the legend probably familiar to Euripides and his audience she will become the consort of Aegeus in Athens and in some versions will bear him a son. More important, she seems to operate at a more intense level of energy, while the others seem to belong to a lower, more ordinary mode of existence. Where is the line where revenge crosses into the zone of the monstrous and inhuman? Yet her past life that gradually unfolds is a history of bloody crimes against the family: her betrayal of her father, Aeetes, her killing of her brother, Apsyrtos, and her engineering of the death of Pelias at the hands of his daughters - a myth that Euripides dramatized in his first entrance into the Dionysiac competitions some twenty years earlier. To complete these reversals, Jason is not only totally helpless before a powerful woman, but he now occupies essentially the position of the lamenting mother. Described as duskatapaustos, "hard to bring to rest," in the following line, she seems like a force of nature, a hurricane or lightning storm, that must expend all of its violence before it can become quiet.
Her bouleumata, her "plans" or "counsels," would seem to be the area where she could most exercise logical control; but instead they consist in a course of action which is destructive to her as well as to her children. In place of the sheltered, interior space of the house, properly presided over by the 13 28 Charles SEGAL wife and mother, there emerges the chthonic realm and dark magic of the fearful goddess.
In the first set of murders insistence on eyes and vision stresses the visual impact of the scene1 f.
In their first stasimon the chorus viewed Medea as the victim of evil in a corrupt world where honest behavior and reverence have abandoned the earth cf. In general, women had very few rights. Like Sophocles' Trachiniae, the Medea offers a commentary on marriage as an institution in this society and on the violence that it can contain.
Medea is willing to sacrifice everything to make her revenge perfect.
The only parallel that the chorus can adduce for Medea's filicide is the maddened Ino, but of course there are many others in Greek myth Agave, Althaea, Procne.
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