“Manly Medea” An analysis of Euripides’ “The Medea” Essay Sample

August 4, 2017 General Studies

When composing The Medea. Euripides challenged the societal norms by abandoning the gender functions of the ancient Grecian society. The chief characters. Jason and Medea. are untypical characters in many ways. Medea defies perceptual experiences of the normal attitudes of work forces and adult females by get the better ofing her “female” emotions and executing Acts of the Apostless that the antediluvian Greeks considered manfully. Meanwhile. Jason seems to be much more mild and diminished. These gender anomalousnesss are evident through Medea and Jason’s character traits. actions. and concluding. Medea pushes the bound of the stereotyped limitations on her gender by perpetrating homicidal Acts of the Apostless ; while her hubby Jason acts really womanly. The two chief characters seem to about exchange or change by reversal gender functions. and so act in conformity with the reversed functions.

The most noteworthy “male” feature that Medea embodies is pride. After Jason betrays her. she seems all excessively willing to perpetrate slaying for the interest of her repute and retaliation. The Chorus remarks:

Thingss have gone severely in every way…there are still tests to come for the new-wedded brace. and for their dealingss pain that will intend something…and in this I will do dead organic structures of three of my enemies-father. the miss. and my hubby. I have many ways of decease which I might accommodate to them. and do non cognize friends. which one to take in manus ( Euripides 364-378 ) .

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Medea has evidently non lost her head. but alternatively merely feels inexplicably drawn to action to avoid being made a sap.

This unnatural pride is typically associated with the male gender. but Medea desires revenge more than any adult male would. The ancient Grecian society frequently considered adult females submissive and weaker. but Medea’s character stands straight in resistance of this position. “Now. friends. has come the clip of my victory over my enemies. and now my pes is on the route. Now I am confident they will pay the penalty…listen to these words that are non spoken idly” ( Euripides 765-773 ) . Medea is a strong and powerful character. while Jason seems much weaker. so much so that Medea wholly destroys Jason’s life in the class of a individual twenty-four hours.

After doing up her head that Jason must endure for bewraying her. she goes through astonishing lengths to take all the joy from his life. Medea’s desire for retaliation is so strong that it enables her to kill her ain kids. “I weep to believe of what a title I have to make next after that ; for I shall kill my ain kids. My kids. there is none who can give them safety. And when I have ruined the whole of Jason’s house I shall go forth and fly from the slaying of my beloved kids. and I shall hold done a awful title. For it is non endurable to be mocked by enemies” ( Euripides 791-796 ) . The length to which Medea is ready to travel is a testament to her utmost pride and strength.

Unlike Medea. Jason does non look to hold any delusional fond regards to his repute. In fact. the Chorus rebukes him stating “you have betrayed your married woman and are moving badly” ( Euripides 578 ) . but Jason does non look to care. He seems more concerned with deriving power even if he merely does it through matrimony. His matrimony itself is somewhat dry because typically a adult male is of import and additions respect or power through his actions. and a adult female has to get married a well-thought-of adult male to be of high category. In his instance his matrimony will convey him into the opinion category.

After losing her hubby. Medea merely dwells in self-pity for a short clip until planing a strategy that will revenge discourtesies. “Wallowing in ego disdain is by and large a quality attributed to adult females by society. Medea is so unhappy with herself after her matrimony with Jason ended that she wanted to die” ( “Medea – An Abandonment of Gender Roles” ) . Alternatively of traveling on and populating out her life in sorrow. Medea takes it upon herself to penalize Jason. whereas a more female reaction would hold been merely to brood in her unhappiness. In this illustration. Medea still has the female outlook but take a drastic action that is more in conformity to how the ancient Greeks thought a adult male would move.

Conversely. Jason seems paralyzed by his sorrow at the terminal of the drama and can non take any action against Medea. “Oh God. do you hear it. this persecution. these agonies from this hateful adult female. this monster. murderess of kids? Still what I can make that I will make: I will keen and shout upon heaven. naming the Gods to bear me witness how you have killed my boys” ( Euripides 1405-1410 ) . Granted. Medea is fundamentally teasing Jason from a winging chariot. but still. all Jason could make was call to his Gods in bereavement.

Despite the fact that slaying is more frequently associated with work forces. Medea commits multiple slayings. Medea viciously murders her brother. King Creon. the King’s girl Glauke. and eventually her ain kids. Any loss of life is tragic. but Medea crosses another line when she kills her kids. “In your heartache. excessively. I weep. female parent of small kids. you who will slay your ain. in retribution for the loss of a married love” ( Euripides 996-999 ) . Normally the ancient Greeks held the position that work forces take away life. while adult females give it. Once once more it seems that Medea and Jason have both forsaken their assigned gender functions. Medea becomes a hard-boiled slayer. and Jason stands passively by watching his life crumble around him unable to make anything to halt it.

The antediluvian Greeks considered adult females as craft and conniving. capable of utilizing elusive hocus-pocus to carry through their ends. This is true about Medea. but she is anything but subtle in her actions. She makes no existent efforts to cover her trail. but alternatively seems to about necessitate it to be known that she did what she did. “Ah semen. Medea. in your plotting and intriguing leave nil unseasoned of all those things which you know. Travel frontward to the awful act. The trial has come for declaration. You see how you are treated. Never shall you be mocked by Jason’s Corinthian wedding” ( Euripides 400-405 ) . Medea kills the King and his girl with hocus-pocus but is non concerned with avoiding_blame.

Even towards to get downing of the drama the Chorus argues with Medea about the true nature of adult females. Medea states that “women. though most helpless in making good workss. are of every immorality the cleverest of contrivers” ( Euripides 408-409 ) . The Chorus counters by expressions “It is the ideas of work forces that are fallacious. their pledges that are loose. Story shall now turn my status to a just one. adult females are paid their due. No more shall evil-sounding celebrity be theirs” ( Euripides 414-420 ) . In Greek plays the Chorus usually states what the audience would be believing. Medea even condemns her ain gender as immorality. even though a typical Hellenic likely would differ.

Medea and Jason step out of their assigned gender functions. but still maintain the outlook of their gender. They are untypical but still credible. When comparing The Medea to his other plants. one may happen it dubious that Euripides was seeking to do a societal commentary on the function of adult females in the society. Euripides fails to take up this subject elsewhere. and Medea seems to be an anomalousness. Possibly Euripides merely felt it was clip to take the Greek dramas in a new way.


Euripides. The Medea. Trans. Rex Warner. Chicago: The University of Chicago. 1955.

“Medea – An Abandonment of Gender Roles” . BigNerds. com Jan 2004


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