study guide 2003 medea

study guide 2003 medea - Nick Wise 12/8/03 Medea by...

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Nick Wise 12/8/03 Medea by Euripides Plot Summary Medea opens with a speech by the nurse, who explains the backstory of the play. In order to help Jason obtain the Golden Fleece, Medea killed her brother and abandoned her homeland. Medea and Jason then settled in Iolchus, where, for Jason’s political benefit, Medea contrived the death of his uncle. The couple fled from Iolchus and adopted Corinth as their homeland. Here, Jason rejected Medea and married a Corinthian princess. After the nurse reminds the audience of Medea’s misadventures and current situation, Medea enters and expresses hatred towards her children, her husband, and herself. Creon, the king of Corinth, enters and gives Medea one day to leave the city. After Creon leaves, Medea vows to kill Jason, Creon, and the princess but recognizes that no city will receive her after she commits this act. Disavowing any responsibility for Medea’s impending exile, Jason enters and asserts that his new marriage will protect himself and his children against exile. In contrast to Creon and Jason’s rejection of Medea, Aegeus, the king of Athens, agrees to offer Medea unconditional refuge in his city. Knowing that she can flee to Athens, Medea resolves to kill her children after destroying Jason’s new marriage. To carry out the first half of her plans, Medea sends her children to the palace with a poisoned robe for Jason’s new wife. The robe kills both the princess and Creon, who touches the dress while trying to save his daughter. A messenger warns Medea that a search party has been sent to apprehend her for this crime. In response, Medea quickly slays her children. Jason reaches Medea’s home and finds her in a magical chariot with the children’s bodies. Medea refuses to give the bodies to Jason and flies away, presumably to Athens. Characters Medea Medea is a sorceress with divine connections. She comes from the “opposite shore of the Greeks,” and is therefore considered a barbarian (210). Medea’s cleverness, coupled with eastern magic, poses a threat to the Greeks that they cannot fully understand. Creon banishes Medea, because she is a “clever woman, versed in evil arts,/ And. ..angry at having lost [her] husband” (68). Creon oversimplifies Medea’s character, fearing her without fully grasping her mindset or motives. Creon and others assume that Medea is a dangerous and exotic mystery. Medea contradicts this mystification of her character. She facetiously claims that her “cleverness/ Is” actually “not so much” (pg 69). Medea portrays her ways as being simple but tragically misconstrued. Both Creon and Medea’s characterizations are oversimplified. She is neither crazed and conniving nor transparent and guileless. Medea’s many reasons for murder reveal the complex reality of her character: Jason’s broken marriage oath : “Indeed, I cannot tell/ Whether you think the gods whose names you swore by then/ Have ceased to rule and new standards are set up” (493-4). Medea has
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This note was uploaded on 09/08/2011 for the course HUMA 101 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '11 term at Columbia.

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study guide 2003 medea - Nick Wise 12/8/03 Medea by...

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