Love and Hatred in Medea

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18 January 2008
Love and Hatred in Medea
Abstract
This paper focuses on the issue of “Love and Hatred in Medea.” Most people consider Medea as a bad and evil woman, but, she is not that evil. It is just because she has different levels of love and hatred toward different people, just as we do. First, I will focus on Medea’s intense love toward Jason. I mostly focus on the part that she sacrifices everything for Jason because of her love. Second, I focus on the reasons that Medea decides to take the revenge. I focus on two reasons, Jason decides to marry Creon’s daughter and Creon decides to exile Medea because he is afraid that she might harm his daughter, Glauce, and himself. These are the reasons that Medea decides to kill Glauce and her own children. The last part I will focus on Medea’s different levels of love and hatred. I will compare her love toward Jason and her brother, Apsyrtus. Moreover, I will prove that she kills her children because of love. Then, I will focus on the part of hatred, the reason she kills Glauce and her children. Most people will think that it is cruel to kill his/her own children, but, from my point of view, she is not wrong because of feminine sense. Key Words: Medea, Jason, Creon, Glauce, Apsyrtus, feminine sense

For most people, Medea is considered as a drama that deals with the evil of woman because Medea killed so many people, but in fact, it is because of her different levels of love and hatred that she commits all the crimes. Moreover, people would consider Medea as a bad woman because she kills her own children, but is she really doing the wrong thing? The main point of this paper is to explore the different levels of love and hatred in Medea, including whether her reaction is right or wrong.

In the beginning of Euripides’ Medea and Other Plays, the nurse said: Then my mistress Medea would never have sailed to the towers of the land of Iolkos, her heart unhinged in her love for Jason, she would not have persuaded the daughters of Pelias to kill their father and would not now be living with her husband and children in this land of Corinth, gladdening the citizens to whose country she has come in her exile, a woman totally in accord with Jason himself. (7-13) In Dramatic Suspense in Euripides’ and Seneca’s Medea, Stephen Ohlander also states that Medea “place[d] her[self] in the passive role of unfortunate captive of Love, divorced from her homeland, now abandoned by the man she loved and for whom she has sacrificed everything” (37). We know that Medea sacrifices everything for Jason from the following examples. First, Medea betrays her father and kills her brother, Apsyrtus. According to the story, we can know that Jason went to Colchis for the golden fleece “for King Pelias, who had usurped the kingdom of Iolkos from Jason’s father” (Bloom 65) and the king of Colchis, Aeetes, subjected Jason to some tests because he didn’t want Jason to take away the golden fleece. Even though Aeetes’ tests for Jason were difficult, Jason completed the tasks with Medea’s help. Helping Jason to pass the tests is a kind of “betray[ing] her father” (Mastronarde 46). Moreover, according to Jan N. Bremmer, Medea kills her brother, Apsyrtus, because she wanted to “escape from Colchis with the Argonauts” (qtd. in Clauss and Johnston 83). Medea uses her killing of Apsyrtus and dismembering him at sea as a way to “slow down the pursuers” (Mastronarde 48) and Siegfried Melchinger states that it is a way to “make Jason’s escape possible” ( qtd. in Nardo 32); thus, we can know that Medea betrays her father and kills her brother because of her love toward Jason and this is the first thing that Medea sacrifices for Jason.

Second, Medea leaves her native country and goes to Corinth, as a stranger, with Jason. Because of her first sacrifice for Jason, she has to leave her own country, Colchis, but this is another sacrifice Medea makes for Jason. In Colchis Medea is a princess and she can have...
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