Medea Essay, Research Paper
In Medea, a play by Euripides, Jason possesses many traits that lead to his downfall. After Medea assists Jason in his quest to get the Golden Fleece, killing her brother and disgracing her father and her native land in the process, Jason finds a new bride despite swearing an oath of fidelity to Medea. Medea is devastated when she finds out that Jason left her for another woman after two children and now wants to banish her. Medea plots revenge on Jason after he gives her one day to leave. Medea later acts peculiarly as a subservient woman to Jason who is oblivious to the evil that will be unleashed and lets the children remain in Corinth. The children later deliver a poisoned gown to Jason s new bride that also kills the King of Corinth. Medea then kills the children. Later, she refuses to let Jason bury the bodies or say goodbye to the dead children he now loves so dearly. Jason is cursed with many catastrophic flaws that lead to his downfall and that of others around him.
A main trait of Jason s is his obliviousness to everything. Jason doesn t realize that Medea is crying for a different reason and thinks that whatever he says is right when he asks Medea, Why is your cheek so white and turned away from me? Are not these words of mine pleasing for you to hear? (p.55). Jason lacks mindful attention to what is happening around him. Jason was smart enough before to know that Medea is evil and even says that she is incapable of controlling her bitter temper (p.43). Medea easily changes Jason s awareness of the future with a few words and makes him incognizant again. This leads to Jason having no idea of what will happen to those around him and not suspect anything from Medea.
The major trait that leads to Jason s downfall is his overwhelming pride. Medea knows she can use his ego against him and says, I have reproached myself. Fool , I said, why am I so mad? (p.53). Medea toys with Jason s need to be above others and always right. Jason doesn t even think twice about Medea s sudden change to a servile attitude and accepts how her mind has turned to better reasoning (p.54). The arrogance of Jason makes him blind to what is happening around him. Medea is obviously manipulating this weakness to work to her just like how everything works for her: the children work to kill the bride and the deaths work to exact revenge upon Jason.
Jason s apathy is a trait that enrages Medea. Jason thinks that he is always helping Medea for nothing in return when he tells her, I can prove you have certainly got from me more than you gave. (p.42). Jason could never have captured the Golden Fleece if it was not for Medea s valuable assistance and he doesn t give her credit for it. The only thing he gave Medea was an oath of fidelity, which meant nothing to him because he breaks it after two children. Jason just decides to leave Medea for a new bride and banish Medea after all that she has done for Jason such as killing her brother and disgracing her father. Those insensitive words from Jason deeply hurt Medea, who has sacrificed so much for him. Jason later gets what he deserves for not recognizing and respecting other people who help him.
A trait that Jason does not possess is guilt. Jason takes no blame for anything throughout the play, especially when he learns that his children are dead. Jason blames Medea when she says, The gods know who was the author of this sorrow. Jason replies, Yes, the gods know indeed, they know it is your loathsome heart. (p.69). Jason just can t take any blame upon himself for anything. To himself, he is faultless as usual despite leaving her for another woman, in which he takes no blame for his actions and has no guilt. Jason doesn t accept any fault at all for the deaths of their children and thinks Medea is just doing it out of pure evil. Medea is a monster, not a woman (p.68) to him while he has an idea of himself being perfect. If Jason could feel guilty for his actions, he would be a much better person and make better decisions and actions.
Jason s terrible traits lead to his decline throughout the play. The ill attributes of Jason make a very interesting story and they combine only to create disaster for Jason and those around him. Jason s characteristics give the audience or reader a hard decision to determine who is really a worse person: Medea or Jason?