Compare and Contrast of Medea and Alcestis by Euripides

Topics: Marriage, Argonauts, Greek mythology Pages: 3 (879 words) Published: October 7, 2012
Compare and Contrast of Medea and Alcestis by Euripides

My mom isn’t that much of an outdoor person, but every year for as long as I can remember she’s went to the all night catfish tournament with dad. Not because she particularly enjoys it, but because dad asks her to go with him. A marriage is about give and take, but this sacrifice seems like a small one compared to what Medea and Alcestis gave up for their husbands in two of Euripides’ plays. Although Medea and Alcestis are alike in their willingness to sacrifice themselves for their husbands, Jason and Admetus’ loyalty to them make the women differ.

Medea betrayed her family and left her homeland to be with Jason. “How I wish that the ship Argo had never winged its way through the grey Clashing Rocks to the land of the Colchians! How I wish the pines had never been hewn down in the glens of Pelion, to put oars into the hands of the Heroes who went to fetch for Pelias the Golden Fleece” (37). The nurse is giving us exposition at the beginning of the play Medea. When Jason landed at Colchis, where King Pelias had sent him to capture the Golden Fleece, Medea fell in love with him, and despite her father (King Aaetes), helped him. After she betrayed her father, Medea left her homeland and has been living with Jason as husband and wife ever since. Jason’s actions later in the story make the nurse wish none of this had ever happened. Even though Medea sacrificed a lot for her husband, she didn’t get the same treatment in return.

Similarly, Alcestis agreed to take her own life in place of her husband Admetus. “He canvassed and solicited all his friends, his aged father and the mother who bore him, but he found no one except his wife willing for his sake to die and to forgo the light of day” (3). This quote refers to when Admetus was given the chance to live if he could find someone willing to die in his place. When his friends and even his elderly mom and dad refused, his wife Alcestis didn’t hesitate to...
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