Essay about Medea By Euripides: Character Analysis

A mother is capable of murdering her own children; however, one may struggle to understand what motivates her to do this. This is the conflict that readers encounter in the play Medea by Euripides. After her husband, and famed hero Jason, leaves her to marry another woman, Medea responds by murdering their children. Yet, readers and even characters in the play are confused at to what Medea’s motives are behind this horrendous act. Many people believe that my murdering her children, Medea was saving them from future suffering and torture.

Although one may want to believe that Medea urdered her son out of mercy, Medea killed her children as a form of vengeance. Medea’s actions fits those of other Greek women who sough revenge. Also, Medea created a situation in which her children must be killed, admits that her desire for revenge is stronger than her love for her children, then murdered her children despite knowing she could save them in some other way. In addition, Medea Medea wanted Jason to suffer; therefore, she murdered her children to as a way to punish him.

Medea by Euripides is the story of Medea, the wife of the hero Jason. At the beginning of Medea, Medea has just heard the ews that Jason was going to marry the princess of Corinth. As a result of this news, Medea is distraught and curses King Creon, the king of Corinth, the princess, Jason, and even their children. However, as a result of her behavior, King Creon banishes Medea and her and Jason’s son from Corinth. This only increases Medea’s anger and drives her to create a plan in which she murder’s King Creon, the princess, and her children in order to get revenge against Jason.

Medea carries out her plan by having her children present a poisonous gown to the princess, which results in the death of her and father. After their deaths, Medea then murders her children to complete her plan. Medea’s actions can be compared to Hecuba, another woman who murdered for revenge. In the play Hecuba by Euripides, Hecuba, the former queen of Troy, murders two children to avenge the deaths of her children. Just as Medea felt betrayed by Jason, Hecuba too felt betrayed by Polymestor, the man who failed at protecting Hecuba’s son Polydorus (Euripides).

In addition, Hecuba sought to seek revenge against Polymestor by murdering his children and blinding him (Euripides). Although Medea attempted to justify murdering her children by clamming hat she was saving them, her actions and motives were identical to that of Hecuba’s. Medea and Hecuba both murder children to get revenge against their fathers. However, neither of these women would have felt the need to seek revenge, if they had not felt deceived in some way. By comparing the actions of these women, Medea’s actions appear to be what Euripides believed were acts of vengeance.

Yet, in Medea, Medea attempts to make the murder of her children into an act of mercy. Unlike Hecuba’s murder of Polymestor’s sons, Medea devised a plan in which she would be able to kill her children. As entioned earlier, Medea sent her children to the palace with a golden diadem and gown in order to impress the princess, their new step-mother (Euripides 931). However, neither Jason nor his sons knew that Medea had poisoned these gifts. Yet, Medea it was not out forgetfulness that Medea did not share this information with them.

According to Arlene Allan, by having her sons deliver the poison that would kill the princess, knew “that the Corinthians will wish to kill her children” (para. 16). Medea knew that what she was using her children for could result in their death. However, if Medea was deeply concerned about the afety of her children, she would not have used them in her murder plot. Medea was a powerful sorceress who could have devised a way to murder the princess without using her own children. Yet, Medea’s craving for revenge prevented her from making better decisions.

In addition to the plan Medea created, she allowed her anger to take control of her. After her children have returned from giving the poisoned gifts to the princess, Medea does not believe that she will be able to murder her children (Euripides 995-1050). For a brief period in time Medea is able to think about what she is about to do. Yet, this does not last long. After considering other ways in which she could save her children Medea states that, “stronger than all my afterthoughts is my fury” (Euripides 1052).

Medea’s anger towards Jason overpowered her love for her children. Therefore, when Medea murdered her children, it was because she wanted to protect or because she loved them. Medea killed her children because that is what her anger towards Jason led her to do. Yet, if Medea did want to save her children, murder was not the only way in which she could. Even though her options were limited, Medea did not have to urder her children in order to protect them. After Medea is banished from Corinth by King Creon, she makes a deal with King Aegeus (Euripides 705-714).

In this deal King Aegeus promises to provide Medea a place to stay in Athens and to protect her from anyone that may come to harm her (Euripides 725-729). With this agreement, Medea could have left Corinth and went to Athens with her children. In addition, she could have done this without murdering anyone. Nevertheless, with King Aegeus promise to protect her, Medea and her sons could have fled to Athens, after they presented the princess with the oisoned gown. However, this is not what Medea wanted. Medea sought to “bring punishment to herself as well as Jason” (Foley para. ).

Going to Athens with the children would not be a severe enough punishment for Jason in Medea’s eyes. Medea wanted Jason’s suffering to be just as agonizing as hers was. Therefore, she murdered her children, instead of taking them away from Corinth. By doing this, Medea further demonstrates that she was seeking revenge, not not attempting to save her children. Although Medea’s acts were done out of revenge, one can understand why she would feel the need to save her children. As a result of Jason’s marriage to the princess, the Medea’s children would now have a stepmother.

Therefore, Medea could have wanted to save her children from “a life with a hostile stepparent” (Allan para. 15). In addition, Medea might have believed that she needed to prevent her children from becoming like Jason and grow into oath-breakers (Allan para. 17). These two fears are valid things that Medea should have been worried about. However, they were not worth murdering her children. As mentioned earlier, Medea had made an agreement with King Aegeus of Athens. She could have taken er children their and protected them from an evil stepmother and Jason.

If Medea truly wanted to save her children, that is what she would have done. Sadly, that is not what she desired to do. Medea was more conceded with seeking revenge against Jason than protecting her children. As a result, she murdered them in order to make Jason suffer. Medea attempted to make the murder of her children into an act of mercy, what she did was out of revenge. Medea wanted Jason to suffer, and the best way to ensure that that happened was by murdering their children. By doing this, Medea became ike other Euripides characters such as Hecuba, who murdered children as a result of betrayal.

The differences between these two women; however, is that Medea carefully planned how she would murder her children and a justification for it. In addition, despite having other options that would have kept her children alive, Medea allowed her anger to possess her, and drive her to kill her children. Even though Medea had reasons for which she might have felt the need to protect her children, she neglected to seek an actual form of protection for them. Instead, Medea manipulated her children, and used them to seek revenge against Jason.