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Medea | Exodos | Summary

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Summary

Jason arrives, knocking on the door, cursing Medea for what she has done to Creon and the princess and demanding his children. The Chorus gives him the news that his sons are dead. Although he demands that the enslaved people let him into the house, the door remains bolted.

Medea appears above the house in a winged chariot. With her are the bodies of their two sons. Jason hurls abuse at her, saying he must have been mad to take her onboard the Argos when she had killed her own brother. Medea points out that Zeus knows what she did for Jason and what Jason did to her. Jason demands she give him his sons' bodies so that he can bury them, but Medea refuses.

The two argue over who is to blame and who has committed the more grievous sins, but the only mistake Jason will admit to is ever having become involved with Medea.

He begs to hold the boys' bodies, but Medea refuses and flies off in the chariot.

The Chorus ends the play by saying that the gods often confound men's plans and that that is what has happened here.

Analysis

Medea's murder of her children completes her revenge. Her inner journey complete, she is full of power and confidence. Jason, on the other hand, appears fragile and hurt. His earlier composure, when he could spout off insults easily, has cracked. He can no longer contain his passion. He rages just as Medea did at the beginning of the play. For once in the play, Jason speaks from the heart. He shows he is not immune to passion and feeling. (Of course, it could also be argued that Jason's betrayal of Medea resulted from his inability to contain his passion for status and wealth.)

Nevertheless, Jason never admits his culpability. When Medea asks, "Do you think an insult to a woman/is something insignificant?" he states blatantly, "Yes, I do." However, even if he still does not recognize the harm he has done, Jason's last words show that Medea has succeeded in wounding him as deeply as she intended: "I wish I'd never been a father/and had to see you kill my children."

The Chorus's final lines warn others not to be as complacent as Jason because things often do not turn out as expected.

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