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Medea’s resolve

April 15, 2013

‘My heart’s steel shattered, women, when I saw my children’s bright eyes. I could never do the deed. Goodbye to my former plans…But what is wrong with me? Do I want to make myself ridiculous by letting my enemies go unpunished? I must face the deed.’

This is a section of a speech that Medea makes towards the end of the play. Medea has resolved to kill her children; in order to punish Jason’s betrayal and abandonment. Just before the speech commences Medea sees her children which momentarily shakes her resolve. However, Medea reflects upon Jason’s behaviour and her anger returns; believing that her course has been set her resolve is reinforced.

I believe that Medea as represented by Euripides, as a result of Jason’s actions, has become so damaged that she can no longer see reason; revenge becomes her only course of action. There are multiple interpretations of Euripides representation of Medea but one view I have is that this is an attempt to address themes of the oppression of women. This representation could be achieved as Medea, as the Granddaughter of Helios God of the Sun, was not entirely mortal and so was able to deliver some form of divine retribution.

The closing section of the quote ‘I must face the deed’ is not only an iconic statement but also a chilling realisation;  Medea’s decision has been made and her children must die to fulfill her ultimate revenge and ensure justice.

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From → Greek Tragedy

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