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Title of Work: Medea

Country/Culture: Greek

Literary Period: Classical

Type of Literature (genre): Drama/Tragedy

Author: Euripides

Authorial information:

Euripides was born in 484 BC and took up drama at the young age of 25. At most drama competitions, however his plays came in last place until he was about 45 or 50 years old. In his entire life, he wrote 92 plays of which only five received first place awards at competition. Euripides despised women. He had been married twice to unfaithful women and had three sons. This hate of women is shown in his work of Medea.

Author's unique style:

Euripides' characterization of women is considered unique in the play Medea because the tragic Hero/ine - in this case Jason and Medea in each one's own sense - is done over by a woman after cheating on her with the princess of the King of Corinth. He places emphasis on human emotions and individual psychology in order to help the reader produce a clear picture of the characters. Medea features strong dramatic situations and a stirring part for the heroine, whose attitude of feminine pride and tradition is still popular in today's world.


The entire play takes place on the island of Corinth in present day Greece. Individual places such as Medea/Jason's home, and the palace of the king and princess are also spoken of and used in the play. It has an ancient Greek setting as well.

Theme: "What goes around comes around."

The theme of revenge in the sense of Medea's strong desire to seek revenge on Jason.

Another possible theme of Medea may be that at times a punishment of revenge should justify the crime - no matter how severe. Only a person in such a situation (and greater beings) may know what to action to take in this position.


Medea - The strong willed woman who would do anything for her husband is victimized by him and turns deadly. After going to a great extent to help Jason - killing people to be with him and married to him - he turns around and marries a younger princess and leaves Medea and their two children with nothing. This deeply angers Medea - her tragic flaw appears to be an over excessive sense of revenge - who goes absolutely berserk and kills the princess and her children to get back at Jason for leaving her. She is very decisive and intelligent and had thought through her actions against Jason before carrying them out.

Jason - The Husband of Medea who leaves her for another woman - the King of Corinth's daughter - claiming it would be better for both Medea and their children if 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 causes 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.

King Aegeus - The present King of Athens who is very sympathetic. He is friends with Medea and understands her problem. He tells her that she may come to Athens and seek refuge if she pleases. He has no children and asks if she will "provide him with some". In this sense, he is a jolly fellow who assists friends in time of need. He also provides Medea with a place to go and be protected after she goes on her killing rampage.

Nurse - The Nurse plays a somewhat minor role and yet influences the story of Medea. She is employed by Medea to look after the children but the Nurse also gossips and provides advice and assistance to Medea. She provides the audience with background information on the play and puts pieces together of the "big picture." The Nurse begs Medea to not do anything rash because of Jason but says that she knows Medea will so that foreshadows the though of tragedy in the play. She also sympathizes Medea but as soon as Medea is not looking, the Nurse criticizes her as being somewhat over reactive.

King Creon - King Creon finds disfavor on Medea for many reasons.

Related Topics

Women and death Argonauts Operas Medea Medes Jason Creon Euripides Aegeus Medea in Corinto A Man Was Going Down the Road jason and medea king of corinth drama competitions play medea unfaithful women individual psychology human emotions tragic hero literary period dramatic situations place awards strong desire medea unknown title heroine characterization present day revenge euripides princess

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