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Monday, 14 May 2012 19:54

Medea's Play, by Euripides Featured

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Medea's Play, by Euripides


Medea by Euripides is one of the most renowned Greek tragedies that are performed today. This is common mostly for secondary school students taking courses in English or classic. In this article, the intention is to provide a quick reminder on the setting, period, roles of major characters, the main point in the play, climax, conflicts, theme, historical events that influenced the writing of the play and others.


The play was first produced in March of 431 B.C in Athens during the city Dionysian Festival. This play was produced during the Golden Age period that saw both Athens and Sparta break to war resulting to the Peloponnesian war. During this period creativity was evident in political, cultural and economic arenas and this resulted Western civilization with unique traits like the flourishing of tragic drama.


Euripides and others playwrights like Aeschylus and Sophocles embraced tragic drama resulting from western civilization and created tragic drama with storylines familiar to the Greek people then like Medea. Tragedy in the play Medea is brought out by the main characters like Medea, Jason and Creon the king of Corinth. In the play, Medea the wife of Jason brings out the theme of revenge and justice. Medea focus on revenge and justice exposes the betrayal of Jason to her as the only wife when he goes ahead to marry a second wife. Her need to have revenge results from the many things she had done in order to be with Jason like running away from her home to be with Jason and killing of his brother. Being a Greek, Medea actions to achieving her revenge challenges the moral universe of the Athenians in the play and we learn more of these morals which she goes against.


Jason has the objective of exposing the rotten traditions of Athens which gave men liberty to remain in the company of their friends, marry as many wives as possible. The betrayal actions by Jason enable the leader to understand the actions of Medea as a Barbarian and not at all influenced by the male chauvinism of the Greece people. Creon as the king has the objective of serving his Corinth community by punishing law offenders like Medea. Again, he demonstrates the biasness of kings like him in achieving what they wanted despite the consequences.


The nurse during her soliloquy brings it out to the reader the cause of the conflict between Jason and his wife Medea. By the way she describes Medea it is clear she is up to no good and is determined. The Chorus despite being Greek women seems to back Medea in her revenge. They show the need for change in the traditions of the Athenians to stop being oppressed.

The point of attack is the marrying of a second wife by Jason which causes the feeling of betrayal in Medea who seeks revenge to hurt Jason like he had done to her. Major conflicts in the play include the betrayal of Jason to marrying a second wife yet Medea loved him with all her heart and had sacrificed her family and the life of his brother for him. Another conflict is seen between the Athenian morals and the Barbarian morals as illustrated by Medea and Jason. The Chorus intention to support Medea in her revenge demonstrates conflict since they should teach her how to be submissive like the Greek women. They need change and since Medea is a promising agent of that change, they support her.


The climax of the play is when Medea kills her own children and leaves blood oozing from their corpse which she places behind the front door and Jason comes in and notices that.  The main theme or idea in the play is revenge. Medea has been hurt by Jason’s betrayal and she refuses to settle till Jason is hurt the same way too.


I imagine the set to be a mud hut with a short wooden door where one has to bend to pass through. In front of the house I imagine two columns of stones and a large wooden bar for a table.  I imagine women here skins and hides to cover the burst and two lags to cover below the waist. For men is imagine them in lags like skirts just covering their bottoms.Some events influencing the writing of the book included westernization which brought about tragic drama and the Peloponnesus war.


Last modified on Monday, 14 May 2012 20:00
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