Euripides' Medea

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Summary of Madea by Euripides.

In front of Madea’s house in Corinth, her nurse narrates and grieves over the circumstances that have led to the conflict between Madea, Jason, and the royal family. This all started when Pelias, king of Iolcus sent Jason to get a Golden Fleece from Colchis, Madea’s home land. Madea, daughter of the king of Colchis, a sorceress, fell in love with Jason, helped him take the Golden Fleece away from her own country, and fled with him to Jason’s home. When they returned to Iolcus, Jason’s home, she used her magical powers to convince the daughters of Pelias to kill their father. As a result, Madea and Jason were banished from Iolcus by Pelias’s son. From Iolcus, they moved to Corinth where they had children and they earned respect in the city. However, Jason abandons Madea and his children to remarry Glauce, daughter of Kreon, King of Corinth. The nurse describes the degree of emotional wreck that Madea is going through. “She lies without food and gives herself up to suffering, wasting away every moment of the day in tears” (line 24). This makes the nurse scared of the outcome of Madea’s anger: “I am afraid she (Madea) may think of some dreadful thing, for her heart is violent” (line 37) the nurse states.

The tutor of Madea’s children meets the nurse moaning and he shares with her the rumor that was circulating in the city: Kreon intends to drive Madea and her children in exile from Corinth.

Inside the house, Madea cries out and wishes her own death. She also curses her children and their father (Jason). She regrets her actions in the past; betraying her country and killing her brother in the course of escaping with Jason. Madea grieves and calls on the goddess of promise (Artemis) and on Zeus (keeper of Oaths) to shatter Jason, his wife to be and the entire palace.

The Chorus made of Corinthian women visits Madea’s home to console her wishing she would relax her rage and temper. They summon Madea to their presence so they...
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