is ancient Greek adversity written by Euripides. This play is based upon the
myth of Medea and Jason. The plot of this play centers on Medea’s actions as a
former princess of the barbarian kingdom of Colchis. Medea is the wife to
Jason. Medea finds threatened in her position in the Greek world when Jason
leaves her to marry a Greek princes of Corinth. Medea therefore decides to
revenge on Jason through murder of Jason’s newly married wife and her born
children and escapes to Athens where she starts over a new life. Other
characters in this play include; Chorus (women of Corinth), Creon the King of
Corinth, Glauce daughter of Creon, Aegeus king of Athens, Messenger, Nurse the
caretaker of the house and Tutor.
simplicity of this play by having only two characters in every scene
differentiates it from other Greek tragedies. The main character in every scene
is Medea in this play. The experiences in this plays serves as a highlight of
Medea’s skills and discernment to manipulate main powerful male figures in to
achieve her own desire (Tigane
44-54). This play is also unique among the Greek tragedies as the only
one where the killer survives till the end of the play and the child-killing is
performed in cold blood and not temporary madness as is usual.
characterization of Medea manifests internal emotions of love, passion and
vengeance. Most analysis interprets Medea as a fulfiller of her role as mother
and wife. The play have been interpreted as a sympathetic exploration of the
plight of a woman on patriarchic society. The playwright work was criticized in
terms of styles used to be unconventional based on the language, moral and
religious values depicted which diverged from the acceptable styles (Tigane 44-54). The structure
employed extended prologues, chorus and disconnected discrete segments.
method of analysis usually seeks to find evidence of unresolved emotions,
conflicts of psychology, guilt, ambivalences in literary works. In this case
sexual conflicts, fixations, childhood trauma and family life are owned by the
playwright as portrayed by the characters. Psychological material are expressed
indirectly, disguised or encoded through symbolism or other principles. It is
important to understand that the every person’s personality is based on three
parts; the Ego, the Superego and id. During psychoanalysis therefore, someone’s
personality is analyzed from what is known by the reader (Tigane 44-54). The id part of the
personality contains the primitive impulses like anger, hunger and desire that
is inborn. The Superego part represents the conscience that a person’s moral
psychology. Ego the ego on the other hand brings balance between id and
superego based on reality principle.
forms of readings can be used in Greek tragedies. In this play Medea can be
read as a normal woman as well as extraordinary like a vindicate spirit. Medea
is a spirit of vindicate are she sporadically declares a curse to Jason’s
family. This trait is revealed in Medea’s words at the beginning of play when
she refers to her sons as áccursed’ (line 112) wishing that the whole house to
collapse in ruin (114). She makes an expression referring to Jason as having
made a ‘Sisyphean marriage’ (Line 405) after the departure of Creon. Creon and
Jason have blood relation and reference to Creon as having descended from Syphon
include Jason in the same ancestry. According to Greek dynastic terms, there is
an evidence of Jason and his new bride are distant cousins proving this allegation
by Medea. Sysphos in this sense is the most famous ancestor responsible for
Jason’s punishment in hell.
Medea agrees to Jason’s accusation of having laid unholy on the family of Creon by replying Yes, and I happen to be a curse to your house, too (Line 608). Jason calls her great devil after the death of the children at the end of the play (line 331). Jason refers to Medea as the betrayer of her father and the land that raised her. He attributes Medea’s deeds as result of visitation of gods to him through the avenging spirit that was meant for Medea. (Medea 1332-36).
the end of the play Medea appears with the machine given to her by her immortal
father who was the Sun god. Medea escapes without a punishment from the people
of Corinthos after killing the king, his daughter and her sons. It is true that
Gods are rarely punished by men for their crimes as they are viewed as above
the power of men. In Greek history past crimes and adultery were always
(Mother and Monster)
is a mother to two sons which portrays her as a mother. (Line 1236-43) Medea
declares that she must kill the children since she bore them else someone else
will; To be murdered by another hand less kindly. From all sides, it is
necessary that they die; and since they must, we who gave birth to them shall
kill them. If she does not kill the children, certainly due to death of Creon’s
daughter will cause Corinthians to kill them.
history, Medea is revealed to have killed her brother and dumbed the body.
Also, another devilish act is identified while Medea was in Lolcus where she
manipulated the daughters of local king and rival to kill their father, Pelias.
It is after this murder that Medea and Jason settled in Corinth where the play
as a Victim
The question about justification of killings by Medea, question whether the act was out of vengeance for Jason, and whose victim she is whether; Jason, Greek, Marriage, Society or herself? The final answer could be presented as Medea existing in a world where women are victims of a society that has been born by men. In this symbolic world, women are provoked to commit acts that are contrary to their interests.
is the King of Lolcus and husband to Medea can be described as Villain of the
play while he stems his evil from his weakness. Jason abandons Medea with their
two sons to marry Glauce, Creon’s daughter. His hope to marry the princess ends
up driving Medea to commit murder of Glauce, her father and their two sons to
one of the main characters in the play, Jason is seen to be the main
antagonist. All the tragedy unfolding in the play are a result of Jason’s
unfaithfulness. In Greek Oikos is a custom pertaining contract of the home.
Jason had a role of faithfully protecting his home and everyone inhabiting in
his house while a woman is entitled to taking care of children and the home.
However, Jason destroys his own honor by seeking a second wife and abandoning
his family. Jason breaks the contract by abandoning his own home. The
punishment to breaking Oikos is condemnation by the society as well as fate as
this is seen after the murder that follows at the end of the play.
While Jason and Medea
flew from Greece to Corinth, the expectation was a happy life thereafter.
However, Jason controlled by his personal desires, does not think about the
result of abandoning his family. He shows no sense of sympathy towards his
family even after persuasion by other characters in the play. His desire is to
see Medea out of the house not caring where she will go with the children; Medea,
scowling there with fury at your husband!
I have given orders that you should leave the country:
Take your two sons and go, into exile. No delay!
Medea also refers to
Jason as’, ‘most despicable of men of all creatures that have life and reason.’
And also comments that; ‘We women have the worst lot’.
The author presents
Jason in the play as egocentric in the sense that he does not show any
difference between self and his family. In as much as Medea does the best she
can to be obedient to her husband, she ends up to disappointment from Jason. The people here are well disposed to
An exile and Jason’s all obedient wife.
That’s the best way for a woman to keep safe –
Not to cross her husband.
But now her deepest love is sick, all turns to hate. (Lines 1-100).
Jason also ironically
says he has done the wise and prudent thing to marry the princess and acted out
of love for Medea and the sons. ´…As for your spiteful words about my marriage
with the princess,
I’ll show that what I’ve done is wise and prudent;
And I’ve acted out of love for you
And for my sons… (Line 501-600).
He does not show any compassion
neither to his sons nor wife. Instead he is driven by the self-interests to
fulfil his desires.
Creon is the father to
Glauce and the King of Corinth. In this play, Creon is portrayed as a
repressor. After Jason decides to send Medea away and marry his daughter, he
supports the act by sending Medea to exile. By doing this, he encourages Jason
to proceed with his egocentrism and unfaithfulness to drive Medea away and
of the Nurse
The nurse is the
caretaker of the children. She is so close to Medea and always present. The
nurse has fear of fascination of death mentality. She serves as confidant to
Medea and does not keep any distance away. She fears the actions Medea might
take against the children. “Old tutor of
the sons of Jason, when slaves are true-hearted, if their masters luck takes a
turn for the worse, they suffer, to. I felt so wretched about my mistress that
I craved the relief of coming out here to tell her sad story to heaven and
earth. (Line 55-59).
The nurse is also
revealed as having superego. She thinks about the positive aspirations always
as she keeps close to Medea. She understands Medea’s disgrace that she sympathises
with her even going out to talk to her and calms her down. The nurse also
opposes Medea’s thought of killing the children instead asks her to drive the
wrath towards the husband. “No! No! I don’t like the sound of that. Why blame
your sons for their father’s offenses? Why turn on them? (Line 115).
Glauce is the princess,
daughter to the king of Corinth and who Jason wants to marry. Although she is
indirectly revealed in this play and says no word, she the object to Medea’s
jealousy that leads to murder including her death. This character bears
unconscious mind in the play. She does not resist proposal by Jason to marry
her despite the fact that she knows his marital status. She is the stem of all
the tragedy in the play. All the evil events in the play are as a result of
The is the trainer of
the children and is a minor character in the play. This character has a
superego and is against the decision of Medea to murder the children and kill
herself. The tutor shows his superego by
understanding that Jason has gone to the extent of thinking only about himself.
..And who isn’t? It should be clear to you that all people put themselves
before other (Line 85).
of Chorus (Women of Corinth)
These group of women
serves as commentators in the play. They also engages in dialogue as
sympathizers to Medea’s situation. They have fear of fascination of death. They
are against the decision Medea might make towards the children. They however, did not have strength to
control the decision of Medea to murder her sons.
Offspring of Medea and
Jason. The children are revealed in the play as naïve and certain to the
intrigue that is facing them. They are also innocent in all sense.
The messenger is a
minor character and only serves when he comes to report the death of the Glauce
and Creon at the end of the play.
This is the king of
Athens where Medea flees after murder. He accepts goods from Medea bearing the
image of corruption and deceiver.
Characters.” Sparknotes.com. N.p., 2018. Web. 30 Oct. 2018.
“Between Revenge And Forgiveness: Psychoanalysis Of The Main Characters In
Euripides’ Medea And In Tyler Perry’S Diary Of A Mad Black Woman.” (2013):
44-54. Web. 30 Oct. 2018.
Torrance, Isabelle, D.
Egan, and D. Egan. “Euripides: Medea.” Classics Ireland 13
(2006): 97. Web.
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