neatly encompasses nearly every concept found in a classic Greek
tragedy. Included in virtually any section of Euripides’ text are key thematic elements and
crucial ideas of Greek philosophy. Firstly, lack of moderation and reason is shown to be
conductive to impulsive, unpredictable and even angry behavior. Medea’s actions and decisions
after she has been betrayed by her beloved demonstrate this concept. Gender roles in Euripides’
work reflect the notion of a patriarchal society, where a woman is reduced to near-servant status,
and is but a body to its male master. The reversal of roles invariably leads to chaos and
instability, going against all ancient Greek stipulations. Perhaps the most universal and recurrent
of all themes in Greek tragedies, however, is the conflict between social ties and relations of
, Euripides promotes the unbalanced importance of social ties, as Medea
gives up her own flesh and blood for a man with whom she engages in strictly physical relations.
Trust, yet another crucial theme, is particularly important in Medea’s case, for when she cannot
trust, her life, and those of the people around her, spiral into estrangement, and ultimately, chaos.
As a whole, Medea is a bitter woman- the embodiment of a heartbroken wife. In such a state, she
perfectly exemplifies the antithesis of a classic Greek woman, giving way to her harsh penalties
at having been trespassed upon.
“O Coward in every way- that is what I call you, with bitterest reproach for your lack of
manliness, you have come, you, my worst enemy, have come to me!” This line with which
Medea opens her speech makes direct reference to her newly estranged husband, Jason. The
hatred that fuels her words allow for the development of one of
themes. Here, Medea is putting to questioning Jason’s manliness, a severe insult to any Greek
man. In typical ancient Greek culture, the man is characterized as being the head of the
household, the prize fighter, whereas the wife is seen as subservient. Through this declaration,