Medea Theme of Revenge
Medea's relentless pursuit of vengeance is legendary. She is driven by a passionate desire to right the wrongs done to her and sacrifices even her own children in the pursuit of satisfaction. Medea shows audiences the horror that can come when a person lets desire for revenge rule her life. Euripides's play helped pave the way for many later revenge tragedies, from the numerous Spanish revenge dramas to Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Questions About Revenge
- Why does Medea think it's necessary to kill her sons to get revenge on Jason?
- How do you interpret the fact that Medea suffers no consequences for her revenge?
- What steps must Medea take in order to achieve her revenge?
- What's the difference between revenge and justice?
Chew on This
Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.
Medea is a cautionary tale on the horrors that revenge can cause.
Medea's lust for revenge makes her an unsympathetic character.
Medea is a drama/tragedy play about one unhappiness love written by Euripides who lived in fifth century BC. As we know, most myths showing us aspects of human nature. The entire play takes place on the island of Corinth in present day Greece.
In the beginning of the book, the main heroine, Medea, starts to threaten revenge on her husband, Jason. She states “If I can find the means or devise any scheme to pay my husband back for what he has done to me”. Through this she is just touching on her anger that she has built up within her for her husband. The main theme of the play is: “What goes around comes around.” The theme of revenge in the sense of Medea’s strong desire to seek revenge on Jason.
Many Greek plays contain female characters that take the role of the villain, the victim, or the heroine. Many people think that she is that she is a frightening character, but we have to think in a real woman’s point of view, what would you do if your husband left you for another woman? In this case revenge was the correct move to make, because of what Medea did for Jason.
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Medea sacrificed her own life, for the love of Jason, by leaving everything she ever owned or had, this is how she attitude toward Jason.
Jason claimed that leaves Medea would be better for both Medea and their children, because he “got in good with the king”. Jason obviously is not caring about his wife who actually killed to be with him. He does however still love his children. His flaw of apathy or the fact that he is not perseverant cause his downfall when Medea has his wife (the princess) murdered as well as his children. This causes Jason to be extremely disturbed – but it is deserved.
“O God, do you hear it, this persecution, these my sufferings from this hateful woman, this monster, murderess of children? Still what I can do that I will do: I will lament and cry upon heaven, calling the gods to bear me witness how you have killed my boy prevent me from touching their bodies or giving them burial. I wish I had never begot them to see them. Afterward slaughtered by you.”- Page 46 Jason crying out to Medea who had killed their two children to revenge what Jason had done to Medea (cheated on her). This quote exhibits the idea of a tragic hero. Jason, in other stories is by far a hero; a common practice amongst Greeks is to have more than one wife. Medea goes overboard and kills Jason’s other life and the two children he and Medea had. This quote shows his misery over the loss of his children.
“Medea” is a play about the terror born of humanity’s inability to forgive. It is a timeless tragedy, as relevant today as when it was first written. It is a universal story about a woman stretched to the limits of her experience – surviving on the edge. Medea forces us to examine our strongest, most primitive impulses – to open our eyes and look. We recognize her humanity – we see the need for revenge, to hurt the one who has hurt us, to slay the innocent in order to cause the deepest pain.
Euripides. Medea. New York: Dover Publications 1993.
“Medea”, December 6, 2001. Osborn, Kevin and Burgess, Dana L. (editing) Complete Idiots Guide To Classical Mythology. New York: Macmillan Publishing 1998.
Encarta Encyclopedia Deluxe, 2001.
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