servants were delighted to see the children at the palace because they had been worrying over them and Medea. Now, they thought, their must have been some resolution of the Jason and Medea's quarrel.-Some servants, the Messenger says, kissed the children's hair, others their hands. He himself was overjoyed and followed the boys to the women's quarters. The Princess had her eyes on Jason before she saw the children enter. Once she saw them, she pulled on her veil and looked away. Jason tried to sooth her and asked her to look with love upon what he loves. He asks her totake the gifts, for his sake, and to pardon the boys' exile.-Seeing the fine gifts, the Messenger says, the Princess agreed to all Jason asked. Jason left the room and she put on the embroidered, poisoned gown and the poisoned crown and arranged her hair in the mirror. Then she stepped daintily around the room on her bare white feet. What they saw next was frightful: her skin changed color, she staggered sideways, her limbs shaking, and collapsed into a chair. One of her older attendants, thinking "the anger of Pan" had fallen on the princess, let out a cry.-But, the Messenger continues, when the attendant saw that the Princess was frothing at the mouth, that her eyes were twisting about in their sockets, and that the blood had drained from herskin, she let out a deeper more shocked wail. Maids rushed to the king, Creon, and to Jason.
People rushed all about the palace. The Princess said nothing for some time then gave a frightful scream. The gold crown gave off a stream of all-consuming fire and the dress devoured her flesh.She jumped up on fire and ran trying to fling off the crown.-The Princess, the Messenger says, could not get the crown off. She fell and gruesomely died. The servants, having seen her death, were afraid to touch her but Creon rushed in and threw himself on the Princess and prayed to die with her. When he tried to rise, the dress clung to him and he tore his flesh from his bones wrestling with it. He died and now lies next to the Princess in the palace. The Messenger says Medea will determine for herself how to avoid punishment.-Human affairs, the Messenger philosophizes, are only shadows. No mortal is happy. One can only be more or less fortunate, not happy. His long, expository monologue concludes and the Chorus says that Jason earned this great calamity. It pities the Princess for her attachment to Jason.-Medea tells the Chorus she is resolved to kill the children and leave Corinth. She says she won't leave them for another to kill, that they have to die, and so, since she gave them birth, she would rather kill them herself. She questions herself for hesitating and tells her hand to take the sword. She tells herself to forget her children for this one day and then mourn. She exits with the childrenthrough the door.