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Medea | Stasimon 1 | Summary

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Summary

The Chorus comments that Medea has reversed the usual flow of history. The man is no longer in control, no longer the one singing of women's faithlessness. Lamenting women's inability to "[make] sacred music" or sing responses to the songs of men, the Chorus has sympathy for Medea, a foreigner deserted by her husband. The Chorus restates the unfortunate things that have happened to Medea, mentioning how Jason shamelessly broke his oath to her.

Analysis

Even though Medea distorts her power by using it for evil, her strength in a male-dominated time is appealing, and the Chorus echoes her strength, softening it with reason.

One of the main themes in Medea is passion. While Medea's murderous crimes are the most apparent, the crime that sets her current plan in motion is emotional: Jason's betrayal and desertion of her and their children for personal gain. Jason's marriage to Medea is not a typical one because she is not Greek. What's more, the gods have given the marriage their approval. As a stranger in Greece with no family and friends of her own, Medea needs Jason's support. She has earned that support through her repeated aid in his endeavors—aid that called on her divine resources. Jason's disregard for her and for the oath he has implicitly made through creating a family with her calls for punishment. The Chorus says, "The honour in an oath has gone./... throughout wide Hellas/there's no shame any more." At the same time, Medea's excessive passion raises some sympathy for Jason on the part of the audience, lending moral complexity to the play.

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