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Oct 1

Medea realizes that she does not want Jason to get her children, so she decides to murder them. The play states, “They can be with you and bring you joy. And yet by the vengeful spirits of deepest Hades there is no way I can allow my enemies to seize my children and to mistreat them. [It is certain that they have to die. And so I should kill them, since I gave them life.]” (Puchner, M. p. 464) This gives the reader a glimpse of just how great Medea’s fury and sense of vengeance truly is.

Medea is satisfied by the fact that she did not allow Creon to get away with exiling her. She also revels in the fact that she was able to get revenge on Jason by taking away all that he loved. She says, “no way that Creon who arranged all this could throw me out and not pay the price. So call me a lion, or Scylla lurking on the Etruscan plain, I’ve done what I had to: I’ve pierced your heart.” (Puchner, M. p. 471) Even though her own deeds also affect her, she is still content with them simply due to the fact that Jason is hurt as well.

A similarity that Medea has to the epic heroes we have read about is her determination. She sets her mind to scarring Jason and goes through great lengths to achieve it by the end of the tragedy. This is similar to the determination displayed by Gilgamesh on his quest for eternal life, and by Odysseus on his journey home. The major difference that separates her from these characters is that this determination is born out of malice rather than love or the will to live.

Question: Do you believe that Jason leaving his wife in order to secure economic prosperity for his beloved sons was justified or at least understandable?

Puchner, M. (2018). Medea. P. Martin (Ed.), Norton Anthology of World Literature (1). https://ncia.wwnorton.com/ebook-worldlit4shorter

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Sep 30

Aegeus swears to provide safety to Medea by proclaiming an oath. This would get attention because she is unpredictable in the play. She talks of living with him, or at least living in his country. This was usually frowned upon for a woman to be interested in another man. Women were not allowed to be with other men because it would be considered a mortal sin. It was considered disgraceful, “ Divorce means disgrace for women, and you can’t say no to a husband.”. (Euripides, pg. 446)

Being childless is better than having children. A child is very precious to most parents. If a child had died, the parent would mourn. Not only is it a kin to the parent, who have developed close memories with, it is worse when death strikes young. Children can be used against the parent in order to get a certain request or achievement. The play displays this by having Medea kill her children. She shows great remorse and guilt, but it was a necessity for revenge. Jason has no one to continue his legacy. He lost something that he loved. Being childless means there is less to lose. The lack of children means there is nothing to mourn for, nothing to feel guilty for, and nothing to protect for. Would you rather be childless or have children?

Medea reminds me of Odysseus from The Odyssey. Both told tales of hardship and tragedy. Although The Odyssey was an epic, it still had somewhat the structure of a tragedy. He had lost many friends and companions for what he did. He made the foolish decision to reveal his name to the cyclops, and in return, cost the life of his friends. She chose to kill the princess, which made her have to kill her sons. If she had not been hateful and resolved the issue more rationally, then she would most likely have her sons alive. They both seeked vengeance over a lover. Both stories ended with people dead from the hands of the main character.

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Sep 30

A-F: Question #1
The Athenian drama “Medea” is a fascinating piece of literature that depicts an extreme example of what happens when a woman is spurned and a relationship turns sour. The plot of this play is not actually very complicated; Medea is so angry at her ex-husband Jason that she torches his new wife and father-in-law before murdering the children she had with Jason for the sole purpose of spiting him. It is not necessarily the events of the play that makes it interesting to the audience though, but rather how the details of the play are presented. Much of the context surrounding Medea’s actions are revealed by the feelings and words of the people around her. For example, Medea’s hired nurse delivers a relatively short monologue at the very beginning of the play where she frets about the mental state of her mistress and the future prospects of their family; of Medea, the nurse says “She’s been weeping constantly since she heard that she has been cast off by her husband… She hates her sons, gets no joy from seeing them. I am afraid that she’s planning something…” (“Medea”, 2021, p. 442). The nurse also reveals several other contextual details that would otherwise remain unknown if not for her; she tells of many questionable actions Medea made in her past out of devotion to Jason; she talks about security of a healthy married relationship; she reveals her own compassion for Medea and her family despite their current circumstances; she admits to fearing for the wellbeing of Medea’s sons because of the possibility of Medea blaming her sons for their father’s actions; last but not least, she shares a little tidbit of wisdom with the audience when she says “I’d rather grow old in safety and not lead a life of grandeur…” (“Medea”, 2021, p. 444) because she doesn’t want to burden the responsibility of being someone in power, or the consequences of angering someone else in power. According to the nurse, it is easier and safer to never ask for too much, or the gods will be angry.

A-F: Question #7
Part of what makes Medea a unique character is how, rather than displaying any inkling of regret about her evil actions and murderous plots, she is supremely pleased and satisfied with them. To be fair, she does experience some internal conflict about murdering her children at first, but these doubts are quickly squashed. Not only is she satisfied with the general outcome of her actions but she is doubly pleased by the pain and anger she causes for Jason. She even says to Jason close to the end of the play “The pain is worth it if it kills your laughter.” (“Medea”, 2021, p. 471). There is but one question that deserves to be answered, given this information: WHO is the protagonist and antagonist of the play – Medea or Jason? – and why? Keep in mind that Google’s definition of a protagonist is simply “the leading character or one of the major characters in a drama”.

Shared Question
After years of collecting, recording, and recirculating hundreds of pieces of centuries-old literature for a modern audience, it is not surprising to find that many early literary characters shared a few traits in common, and Medea – from the notable Athenian drama named after her – is just one example of this. Medea’s character can be summed up as crafty, vengeful and slightly entitled… Now who else does that sound like? Odysseus of course! Again, this shouldn’t be super surprising given that both were written in Greece by ancient Greeks during the heyday of Ancient Greece (I know that is redundant but it was fun to write). In the Odyssey, Odysseus the protagonist is motivated entirely by wanting to return to his home and exact vengeance on all the suitors who occupy it. He is also extremely crafty and able to talk his way out of many troublesome situations, or even talk his way into getting many things that he doesn’t necessarily deserve. Medea does this as well when she pleas with King Creon to let her remain in his city one last day before being exiled, even as she plots for a way to kill him; she grasps his knee and says
“I am in no position to go on the offensive against a king.
How have you wronged me? You gave your daughter
to the man you wanted to. The one I hate
is my husband. You were acting sensibly…”
“Just let me stay here for one more day
so I can work out my plans for exile
and make some arrangements for my sons,
since their father is not inclined to help.
Show them some pity.” (“Medea”, 2021, p. 448)

Obviously Medea isn’t exactly the same character as Odysseus though; the most distinguishing feature between them is simply the fact that Odysseus is a man and Medea is most certainly a woman. Besides that, Odysseus possesses several noble qualities such as honor, discretion, wisdom (which is different than craftiness) and self-control, which are all qualities that Medea seems to possesses in much smaller amounts.

References:

Euripides. (2021). Medea. In M. Puchner (Ed.), Norton anthology of world literature (shorter 4th ed., pp. 441-472). https://ncia.wwnorton.com/169414/r/goto/cfi/222

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Sep 30
Andee Whitfield South Plains College

ENGLISH-2332- World Literature
Mrs. Escamilla
September 30, 2022
My question- Which gods does Medea ask for help and why does she ask these gods?
What struggle occurs in Medea in ll. 1035-1042?
Medea states that her children can bring joy and happiness to people and she cannot let her enemies mistreat them.“There is no way I can allow my enemies to seize my children and to mistreat them.”(1037-1038) So Medea kills her children. “It is certain that they have to die. And so I should kill them, since I gave them life.” She is punishing her husband, Jason who leaves her for the daughter of King Creon of Corinth.
Why is Jason’s speech in ll. 1268-1280 ironic?
Jason’s speech was so ironic because he does not yet know that Medea has already killed their children. Jason’s speech was about Medea and how much anger she had because of the pain of his remarriage. “How much disaster has been caused by the pain of women in marriage!”(1273-1274) He asks if she actually committed these terrible crimes, he doesn’t realize their children are already dead.
Compare and Contrast – Medea and Odysseus
Medea and Odysseus both are faced with many distractions and obstacles throughout both of their stories. Both characters are separated from their spouses. Their separations from their supposes are different, Medea was left by her husband, Jason and got married to a new bride and became a king. Odysseus left his wife but had the intention to come back to his wife, Penelope, to fight in the Trojan War. When they are both faced with difficulties, the two both handle them very differently. Medea was enraged and ended up killing her own children after her husband left her. But when Odysseus returns home he proves that he is himself when many people believed he was dead and Penelope started to lose faith that he isn’t alive anymore and he is calm.

Euripedes, Medea, pg 756-790
The Norton Anthology of World Literature, Vols. A, B, & C.
Author: Sarah Lawall, ed.

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Sep 30

Q2
Jason blames Medea for her own sorrow due to her offending the royal family of Corinth. He claims that his reasoning for leaving her and marrying into this royal family was all for her and their children’s benefits as them being servants under the princess would give them a good life there. This is shown when Jason states “When I moved here from the city of Iolcus, / I was dragged down by impossible problems. / What better solution could there be/ for an exile like me than to marry the princess?” (Euripides, 2012, p. 453). Medea counters his logic by reminding him of everything she had done for him, such as helping him retrieve the Golden Fleece by killing the serpent guarding it, betraying her father by following him to Iolcus, and killing her brother to slow the Colchians down after the theft of the Fleece. However, Jason remains steadfast in his justifications for leaving her.

Q4
The struggle that occurs in Medea II is an internal one. Medea is going back and forth between the decision of whether or not to kill her sons after they give the poisoned gifts to her mistress. She seemingly is having regrets of putting her plan into action, but in the end she strengthens her conviction and decides to go through with the murder of her offspring. The steeling of her nerves comes from a “no turning back now” mentality she gains, presented by her stating, “It is all in place: she cannot escape;/ the crown is on her head; the royal bride /revels in her new dress./ I heard it clearly.” (Euripides, 2012, p. 464).

Medea vs Penelope
Though the characters of Medea and Penelope can be compared and contrasted in many ways. A major difference would include their contrasting significances in each of their stories. Medea is the main character of the Athenian drama, whilst Penelope is moreso of a supporting character to Odysseus. Conversely a comparison between the two would be their loyalties. Penelope remains loyal to Odysseus throughout the entirety of the 20 years he was away. While Medea does turn on her husband, she remains loyal to him through all of his trials of retrieving the Golden Fleece and being exiled from his home. One last difference between Medea and Penelope is their composure, as Medea is constantly distraught about her husband’s betrayal while Penelope on the other hand remains relatively collected, even as she is put through the torment of the suitors.

Original Question: Do you think there are more comparisons or contrasts to be made between Medea and Penelope?

Sources:
Euripidis. (2012). Medea. In Martin Puchner (Ed.), The Norton Anthology of World Literature (4th ed., pp. 441-472). https://ncia.wwnorton.com/169414/r/goto/cfi/222

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