Dev of Western Civ
Dr. Patrick Macfarlane
Medea Seminar Question 5
The “barbarian” woman Medea is similar to the Greek male Achilles in the Iliad. In Euripides Medea, Medea seeks revenge against Jason after Jason abandons her and their children. Jason abandons his own children in order to remarry with Glauce, the daughter of Creon, king of Corinth. (Svarlien, 14-25) In the Iliad, Achilles seeks revenge against Hector after Hector kills Patroclus. (Lombardo 21.105-110) Both Achilles and Medea are driven by anger and revenge. In Euripides Medea it says, “But now there’s only hatred. What should be most loved has been contaminated, stricken since Jason has betrayed them-his own children, and my lady, for a royal bed.”(Svarlien, 20-25) Like Achilles, Medea’s actions are fueled by her obsession for revenge and her hate for her enemy, which is now Jason. Medea is obsessive in her passion to punish Jason for his betrayal. Both Achilles and Medea’s hatred are shown in the way they kill and deface the body of their enemy. In the Iliad, Achilles lashes the body of Hector to the back of his chariot and drags it across the battlefield. (Lombardo 22.440-442) He torments and defaces Hector’s body in this way. In Euripides Medea, Medea gives Glauce a poisoned dress and coronet. The coronet erupts in a fire and the dress begins to eat away at her skin. She is left a monster and Creon becomes entangled with Glauce in a rotting heap. (Svarlien, 1185-1245) Both Achilles and Medea’s anger fuel their motives to kill and deface the bodies of their enemies in horrible ways.
Medea and Achilles also are similar in the way they are full of pride. In the Iliad, Achilles refuses to fight for the Achaean army because he feels he has been dishonored when Agamemnon takes Briseis away from him. (Lombardo 1.160-180) Achilles is too proud to give up Briseis. Like Achilles, Medea is also full of pride. Jason says to Medea, “If you’d like me to help your exile,...
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