Themes of Medea

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Jessica Barr
February 21, 2011
Medea Video Project Analysis
The “Medean” Hillbillies
Euripides’ Medea is classified an ancient Greek tragedy. However, this story is much more than a tragedy. The story of Medea is one that definitely grabs the reader’s attention through both its text and its themes. The themes that the story of Medea presents are very practical and still continue to exist in humanity today. The three largest and most obvious themes that a reader is most likely to find and relate to while reading Medea are revenge, manipulation and passion. These three themes are not only apparent in the story of Medea; they are obvious in our video version, entitled The Medean Hillbillies, as well.

Revenge is a common theme that occurs in a number of scenes throughout Medea (“Themes of Medea”). Jason, the husband of Medea, has decided to leave his wife for another woman that will place him in a higher social status. Medea immediately becomes angry as she feels that she has given up everything in order for him to gain power (Smith). Medea does not believe he has adequate reasons for leaving her. She also does not like the fact that Jason continues to make lame excuses while trying to defend himself. Medea quickly develops a strong urge for revenge against Jason and his new wife. The remainder of the story is centered on this theme and Medea’s plan for revenge (Smith). Medea’s ultimate plan for revenge is to poison and kill the Princess, Jason’s new wife. She completes this goal by poisoning a gold dress and then presenting it as a gift to the Princess. When the Princess puts on the dress, the poison immediately results in her death. Medea is also able to kill the father of the Princess, which assists her in a successful act of revenge. Medea does not stop with the death of the Princess and the King. As the story continues, Medea’s sense of revenge bubbles up insider her. She continues her plot of revenge towards Jason, as a result of her hatred towards him and his actions. In the end, Medea makes the decision to kill her own, two children. This again is an act of revenge towards Jason for leaving her alone, and for accusing her of overreacting. Our video reflects this theme revenge through multiple scenes. Medea develops a sense of revenge to Jason after he runs away and gets married to the Princess. She takes out her revenge through a scheme that will kill the Princess through poison. In our video, Medea achieves her goal through tainting a necklace with peanut oil because the Princess is allergic to peanuts. When the necklace is placed upon the Princess’s neck she immediately is poisoned and dies. Medea’s revenge is also obvious in the scene with her talking to King Creon. She shows a strong desire to not be bothered by anyone and expresses the fact that she does not want to leave her home in the trailer park. At the conclusion of their conversation, Medea threatens to kill the King. This is ironic because in the end, she does end up killing the King. Overall, the audience is able to understand Medea’s revenge in this particular scene as a result of her attitude and tone.

The second theme made evident in Medea is manipulation (Borey). The protagonist, Medea, is very good at manipulating other characters in order to benefit herself. Medea is able to manipulate her two children, which is very important in Medea’s plan for revenge (Mastin). Without her manipulation, she would have not been able to kill her children so easily. Throughout their lives, the children have seen their mother as a caring and loving person. They are oblivious to the fact that in reality their mother was simply manipulating them and persuading their thoughts, viewpoints, and personalities (Mastin). Medea manipulates her children in a way that reflects nicely upon her behalf and in a way that expresses a sense of hatred towards Jason, their father. King Creon is a character who is also manipulated by Medea (Borey). Medea...
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