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June 16, 2021, 04:50:21 pm

Author Topic: Please mark my Medea - Euripides essay out of ten!  (Read 952 times)

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Please mark my Medea - Euripides essay out of ten!
« on: April 27, 2021, 09:29:45 pm »
Euripides suggests that individuals are motivated by self-interest and revenge. To what extent do you agree?

Euripides’ 431 BCE Greek Tragedy ‘Medea’, stemming from the Golden Age of Athens suggests that individuals are motivated by self-interest and revenge. Although characters are driven by their self-absorbed values, desire also is the root of their tragedy. Medea, the protagonist, plots a scheme of revenge upon her former husband, Jason, in order to seek justice upon the wrongdoings towards her. Jason’s hubris becomes his downfall as he never questions his knowledge and becomes oblivious to Medea’s plan of vengeance. Ultimately, whilst these characters are prompted by their self-regard, the playwright also display desire to be present. For it is Jason’s unrequited desire and betrayal that galvanises Medea into committing atrocious crimes, Jason’s hunger and desire for fame ultimately becomes his hamartia as he desires more than he can have.

With Medea’s intentions established, she cultivates a plan of revenge and succeeds in seeking justice for herself through her passionate demeanour. Due to her philandering husband abandoning her and marrying Glauce, the princess of Corinth, she becomes motivated by the outcome of her scheme as she has “no shortage of deadly routes to follow” which displays her myriad options and plottings leading to the deaths of her enemies. This notion is further enhanced by the nurse expressing that she shall not “lightly abandon her rage”, demonstrating her vengeful and pervicacious nature once provoked, ultimately ending with the death of her two children, Glauce and Creon, the king of Corinth. Through the symbolic murders of her children, Euripides accentuates the clear representation of Medea and Jason’s marriage, as they are the product of their once loving relationship. However, through Jason’s infidelity, Medea destroys every remnant of it, sacrificing them on the altar of revenge, rendering Medea’s wrathful blood driven motive of vengeance. Euripides’ metaphoric implication regarding women as “quite helpless in doing good but surpassing any master craftsman in working evil” indicates that women are often unappreciated for doing well and pleasing men, therefore suggesting that the only way in which a woman can gain equality or surpass a man is through evil deeds leading to the downfall of him, the acts of which has been clearly orchestrated by Medea upon Jason. The playwright further expresses Medea’s thirst for revenge as by “[murdering her children]”, “it is the supreme way to hurt [her] husband” displaying her logical reasoning for her execution of seeking retribution as in doing so, she leaves Jason isolated and abandoned just as he had done to her.

Jason’s mindset of being the quintessential male protagonist leads him into conflict with Medea as he becomes oblivious to her clandestine plan of revenge. Euripides connotes Jason as a high ambitious male, as evident from his plans to gain power, however he views all his achievements to have all been completed due to his talents and not from Medea’s sacrifices. He declares that in Medea saving him, “[she] gained more than [she] gave” as well as her assistance of just only being “some benefit” depicting his egotism and narcissism. Whilst Medea plots her plan of vengeance, she feeds into Jason’s ego in order to gain his forgiveness and exploits him by utilising his hubris traits to her advantage. She creates a docile, inferior facade to apologise and expresses that “a woman is a soft creature, made for weeping”, she unequivocally contradicts her accustomed mentality in order to gain his full trust. She succeeds in her plan as Jason believes that Medea has “come to see the superior way of thinking” insinuating that she has finally woken up to see things from his point of view. He also expresses that Medea’s previous outbreak with him was “natural” because from his perspective, it is conventional for “womenfolk to feel anger against a husband when he deals in contraband love”, with Jason’s patronising tone, he has let down his guard and this notions towards Medea’s successful scheme. The playwright illustrates Jason’s downfall to be evoked by his self-interest that leads him to his nemesis.

Desire serves as an impetus for an act to occur, it is the emotion of craving and sense of longing by the enjoyment or the thought of something. Although both Medea and Jason are motivated by self-interest and revenge, desire also plays a role in their ultimate endings. From the outset of the play, the nurse’s soliloquy reveals that Medea has “her heart transfixed by desire for Jason” engaging the pathos of the audience towards Medea’s unrequited love. The implicitly despairing undertones of the nurse’s lamentation of Medea “[seeking] to please her husband in all she does” enables Euripides to illustrate Medea’s desire for Jason’s love. Medea’s motivation for Jason’s desire towards led her into sacrificing so much for him, even murdering her own family in order to freely escape with him. However, as Jason leaves her isolated, she dwells upon betraying her own father and family to come to Iolcus “showing more eagerness than sense”, displaying the awareness to her senselessness and the only family she has left are her children which is ironic as she then murders the last of her family in order to exact the best revenge she could. Conversely, Jason’s desire for fame has led him to grab onto whatever that was beneficial to him and leave as they had stopped benefiting him, just like Medea. He was able to successfully achieve the Golden Fleece due to her assistance and he then marries her. However, once exiled, he no longer received benefit from Medea and craves the power of royalty as he then abandons Medea for the Princess of Corinth. His desire to achieve high authority is then ruined due to Medea’s wrath towards Jason’s neglect and betrayal.

Ultimately, Euripides portrays both Medea and Jason to be driven by their self-interest and revenge however these characteristics also co-exist with desire to galvanise their yearning into action. As Medea’s desire for Jason is rejected, she spirals into emotional distress and meticulously unfolds her scheme of vengeance. With Jason’s hubristic attributes and desire for fame, it becomes his hamartia and leads to his downfall as it creates him to become oblivious to Medea’s deceitful apology. Thus, as depicted by Euripides, the human psyche and motivations of individuals can cause detrimental consequences as well as assisting to achieve one’s ultimate goals for justice.


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Re: Please mark my Medea - Euripides essay out of ten!
« Reply #1 on: May 18, 2021, 10:31:28 am »
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