Development Of Medea Essay, Research Paper
In the ancient play Medea, Euripides uses such devices as irony, conflict, foreshadowing, and stereotype to develop the character of Medea. Various examples can be seen within each of the episodes of the book. Within the Prologue of Medea, there is a vivid image of Medea guarding her children like a lioness guarding her cubs. At this point in the play, this image shows that Medea is a compassionate and loving mother figure. The comparison of Medea to a lioness also shows that she has a strong and forceful personality much like that of a lioness. Medea also says, lightning from heaven would split my head open. Such an intense description is in response to all the pain that Jason has caused her by leaving her for another woman. By this image, the audience can also see that Medea has a very emotional and dramatic personality. Plus, Jason is stereotyped as being an unfaithful and selfish husband throughout the play, and at this point in the play this goes to contrast the vile character of Jason with the favorable character of Medea. Most women would choose to move on in such a situation, but Medea simply cannot surmount what her husband has done to her and is tormented by it. Also, the nurse s speech concerning how furious and inconsolable Medea is further supports the idea that she is dramatic and unforgiving.
In episode one, the conflict that develops between Creon and Medea helps to further develop her character. Knowing that Creon wants her to leave immediately, Medea begs and pleads with Creon to allow her to stay one more night so that she can get her belongings ready. Creon knows that Medea is wicked and says I am afraid of you and You are a clever woman, versed in evil arts. Such knowledge foreshadows what is to occur. Yet Medea is still able to convince Creon to go against his own instincts and allow her to stay. She is able to cleverly play on his conscience by convincing him to pity her situation of having no husband and nowhere to go. Such an accomplishment shows now cunning and deceptive Medea s character is. There is also irony in that Medea convinces Creon to trust her, but instead she kills him and his family. This betrayal of others emotions and trust further shows Medea s deceptive character. Then, Medea goes on to describe images of how she will kill her husband and the royal family. She actually contemplates on whether she should set fire underneath their bridal mansion, or sharpen a sward and thrust it to the heart. Such bizarre thoughts show her wicked and revengeful nature. Then she realizes that if she were to break into the house she might get caught, and this shows that she is a methodical person. Also, the tone within this episode evolves from being pathetic at first to eventually sinister. This shift in tone and mood coincides with the transformation of the character Medea. At the beginning of this episode the audience still has pity for her situation and feels that she is a compassionate women, but by the end her evil side surfaces and she is consumed by hate and revenge.
In the second episode, Medea recalls past images by talking about When you were sent to control the bulls that breathed fire and yoke them, and when you would sow that deadly field. Also that snake, who encircled with his many folds the Golden Fleece and guarded it and never slept, I killed, and so gave you the safety of the light. Such descriptions show that Medea is a person who feels that her husband is forever indebted and belongs to her for all that sacrifices she has made for him. Also, this episode further develops a conflict between Jason and Medea. The verbal battles between the two further goes to show Medea as being an unforgiving, enraged, and forceful character. Jason describes Medea as being a mouthing tempest, woman, of your bitter tongue. This shows that even Jason realizes that Medea has a strong and passionate character. Also, Medea foreshadows what is to happen by saying A curse that is what I am become to your house too. Such an evil message shows the revengeful and wicked nature of Medea.
Then in episode three, Medea s actually thinks about killing her own children. She uses vivid imagery and tells of how it would feel to dip her hands in her children s blood. This clearly shows that she is a wicked mother whose own desire for revenge overcomes the welfare of her children. It s also ironic that she loves her children and says no one can keep them safe, but she will kill them. This shows how unreasonable her mind becomes when Jason hurts her. She says that as long as her children are alive, she will be reminded of Jason. So she kills the children both to hurt Jason and to clear her mind. This action shows how selfish and revengeful she is. She thinks nothing of the children s welfare and cares only about getting revenge on Jason for all the pain he has caused her.
In episode four, there are many vivid images of the poisonous gift and the terrible death it caused for both Creon and his daughter. Such imagery helps to intensify the wicked character of Medea. The audience sees that it was entirely Medea s plans and really sees that she is evil. Also, there is verbal irony when Medea says and acts like she is forgiving Jason while she truly does not and is only tricking him to trust her so that he will accept her gift. Such trickery further goes to show Medea s deceptive and cunning nature.
In the fifth episode, Medea says to her children, Give me your hands, give your mother your hands to kiss them. Oh dear hands, and oh how dear are these lips to me, and the generous eyes and the bearing of my children. Such imagery shows that Medea is still a loving mother, but her desire for revenge seems to overcome this love. Her love for her children and her desire for revenge conflict and contrast with each other. Before she carries out her murders she always questions herself, and the audience sees the mental war raging in her mind. Yet, since she does kill her children and her enemies, it shows how intense her feelings of revenge are. Also, it is ironic that Medea is unhappy even when the gifts were delivered. This shows that she is not entirely wicked in nature and has goodness in her. But clearly this goodness is suppressed by her revengeful nature.
Finally in the Exodus, Medea is described as a monster and a creature. Such descriptions depict the type of person she has become. Also, her heart is compared to steel, and this describes how heartless she is to have killed her own children for purposes of revenge. The children throughout the play symbolize innocence, and when Medea kills her children, she has also metaphorically destroyed her own innocence and has become truly sinister. Then Medea escapes at the end, and this is a stereotype of how evil is never caught. Such a stereotype further goes to show how cunning Medea is to have escaped all troubles. Euripides play, Medea, uses such devices as irony, conflict, foreshadowing, and stereotype to develop the character of Medea.