Character Analysis of Medea

Tim Oleksiak
13 October 1998
ENGLISH 253

Medea was a devotee of the goddess Hecate, and one of the great sorceresses of the ancient world. She was the daughter of King Aeetes of Colchis, and the granddaughter of Helios, the sun god.
King Aeetesí most valuable possession was a golden ramís fleece. When Jason and the crew of the Argo arrived at Colchis seeking the Golden Fleece, Aeetes was unwilling to relinquish it and set Jason a series of seemingly impossible tasks as the price of obtaining it. Medea fell in love with Jason and agreed to use her magic to help him, in return for Jasonís promise to marry her.
Jason fled in the Argo after obtaining the Golden Fleece, taking Medea and her younger brother, Absyrtis, with him. King Aeetes pursued them. In order to delay the pursuit, Medea killed her brother and cut his body into pieces, scattering the parts behind the ship. The pursuers had to stop and collect Absyrtisí dismembered body in order to give it proper burial, and so Jason, Medea and the Argonauts escaped.
After the Argo returned safely to Iolcus, Jasonís home, Medea continued using sorcery. She restored the youth of Jasonís aged father, Aeson, by cutting his throat and filling his body with a magical potion. She then offered to do the same for Pelias the king of Iolcus who had usurped Aesonís throne. She tricked Peliasí daughters into killing him, but left the corpse without any youth-restoring potion.
After the murder of Pelias, Jason and Medea had to flee Iolcus; they settled next in Corinth. There Medea bore Jason two children before Jason forsook her in order to marry the daughter of Creon, the king of Corinth. Medea got revenge for Jasonís desertion by killing the new bride with a poisoned robe and crown which burned the flesh of her body; King Creon died as well when he tried to embrace his dying daughter. Now, Medea had to flee Corinth alone. She took with her the bodies of her two children, whom she had murdered in order to render Jason further pain.
Euripidesí Medea was a truly evil character. My opinion in situations involving the romantic interests of a man and a woman has changed drastically. Ordinarily, I would be of the mind that says love conquers all. However, after reading of Medeaís treachery, I can no longer believe that maxim. Although Medeaís love for Jason did conquer everything in her path to obtain that love in return, it also destroyed many peoples lives, and, in the end, turned even Jasonís affection towards other interests.
Medea violated several values that should have been held with much greater reverence. The woman enabled Jason to steal from her own father. She brutally murdered her own brother, flesh and blood. Most certainly Medeaís greatest violation is taking her childrenísí lives. By performing these infamous acts, she betrayed all that should be sacred. Of these acts, I can understand none. As a daughter, Medea should not have the capacity to steal from her father. As a sister, Medea should not be able to bear the pain of killing her brother. Most importantly, as a mother, Medea should not be able to tolerate the severing of her mother-child bonds and responsibilities. It has been said that there is no love greater than that between a mother and her offspring. Yet Medeaís actions negate this belief. Having read this piece of literature, I cannot the being Medea. She goes against the grain of some of my most esteemed values. This created an interest in continuing to read the piece, but also disgust in what atrocity I may become knowledgeable next.
As much as I dislike Medea, and as much as I have put down her actions, she does have a redeeming quality, though not in the normal sense. Her motive for all these actions involved the love she held deep in her heart, for one man, Jason. Perhaps one of the worst pains a person can go through is divorce, or separation form the one that person loves. Considering this, I realized that I could understand Medeaís mind frame. Although she would most likely get over Jasonís desertion, I believe the pain may have been enough to set her over the edge. Separation is one of