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Medea | Study Guide


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Medea | Quotes


Why link your children with the nasty things/their father's done?

Nurse, Prologos

In the opening of the play, Euripides foreshadows Medea's heinous acts. This quotation also expresses one of the central themes: revenge.


We women are the most unfortunate.

Medea, Episode 1

Medea often articulates the low position of women in society. Here she speaks of the costs, both monetary and physical, of being a wife, for a woman's father paid a dowry to her new husband. Through Medea's words Euripides accentuates how women were treated much like enslaved people in Greek society.


What country, what home will you ever find/to save you from misfortune?

Chorus Leader, Episode 1

The Chorus leader speaks of one of the play's themes: exile. The audience and characters feel the fragile position Medea is in while on the brink of banishment.


With no female sex .../men would be rid of all their troubles.

Jason, Episode 2

In moments like these, when Jason spouts such matter-of-fact insults to women in general and Medea in particular, it is easy to understand and sympathize with Medea's rage.


If Aphrodite comes in smaller doses,/no other god is so desirable.

Chorus, Stasimon 2

According to the Chorus, tempering passion brings peace rather than the destruction of jealous passion. This quotation not only addresses the theme of passion, but it also refers to the gods as unseen players pulling the strings in human lives.


I'm ... dangerous/to enemies, but well disposed to friends.

Medea, Episode 3

In addition to her relationship with the Chorus, this quotation describes Medea's treatment of Aegeus, for whom she expresses sincere concern even while using him to secure sanctuary. At the same time, these words warn against her ruthlessness in dealing with those who cross her, such as Creon, the princess, and Jason.


I want to help you,/holding to the standards of human law.

Chorus Leader, Episode 3

The Chorus leader gives a voice to society and urges Medea to abide within the law. She also tries to serve as Medea's conscience.


She gets these gifts,/which my grandfather Helios once gave/to his descendants.

Medea, Episode 4

Medea speaks to Jason here, telling him she is sending gifts to the princess to soften her feelings toward the children. Her words remind Jason and the audience of Medea's divine ancestry, which will later enable her to escape.


I shall bring others to their homes—alas.

Medea, Episode 5

With the use of double entendre (using a word that can be understood in more than one way), Medea expresses two meanings for the word home. While she will kill the children within their home, for the princess and Creon the word refers to their graves.


We mortals/must bear our bad times patiently.

Tutor, Episode 5

Here the Tutor voices a Greek view of patience during troubles, waiting out the plan the gods have for mortals. Medea rejects this patience and moves things along on her own timeline.


It's a fearful thing for men/to spill the blood of gods.

Chorus, Stasimon 6

Medea, who is a descendant of the god Helios, has killed the children, who are also related to Helios. The Chorus speculates that Medea will incur the wrath of the gods because she not only killed her children but also spilled divine blood.

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