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Medea: Empathizing With A Murderer And Psychopath

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For 2,448 years, “Medea” has been a notable playwright and story, thanks to Euripides’ craftsmanship and eloquent characterization of the infamous main character, Medea. Even though Euripides writes Medea as a complex character having many characteristics, there is one characteristic that dominates all the others, and for a good reason. Throughout the entirety of “Medea,” Euripides depicts Medea as hopeless to enable the audience to empathize with her. Euripides portrays this feeling in Medea’s first line, where she is shown as depressed and having suicidal thoughts: “Ah wretch. Ah, lost in my sufferings. I wish, I wish I might die.” (4). This dramatic yet devastating statement indicates that Medea is so heartbroken and overcome with grief that it seems to her that the only alternative is death, albeit that she has other options to help cope with her sorrow. Without a doubt, seeing a once happy, wedded woman wishing for death in response to her husband, Jason, leaving her causes the audience to feel sympathetic towards her situation. Secondly, Medea is characterized as hopeless through her suffering and pain- both past and present. Before the events of this play, Medea kills her own brother to be with Jason, resulting in her domestic banishment.

Medea expresses her intense regret and pain: “But I am deserted, a refuge, thought nothing of by my husband, something won in a foreign land. I have no mother nor brother, nor anyone with whom I can take refuge in this sea of woe.” (Euripides 9.) Remorseful, Medea is reflecting on her brother’s death, which ironically turned out to be for nothing. Medea’s realization emphasizes the severity of her pain. Most of all, she contemplates about Jason leaving her to be with another woman- leading to Medea concluding that she is worthless in the eyes of her husband. This analyzation leads to Medea’s realization that as a result of her actions and Jason’s change of heart, she no longer has anyone in her life to depend on. Ultimately,

For 2,448 years, “Medea” has been a notable playwright and story, thanks to Euripides’ craftsmanship and eloquent characterization of the infamous main character, Medea. Even though Euripides writes Medea as a complex character having many characteristics, there is one characteristic that dominates all the others, and for a good reason. Throughout the entirety of “Medea,” Euripides depicts Medea as hopeless to enable the audience to empathize with her. Euripides portrays this feeling in Medea’s first line, where she is shown as depressed and having suicidal thoughts: “Ah wretch. Ah, lost in my sufferings. I wish, I wish I might die.” (4). This dramatic yet devastating statement indicates that Medea is so heartbroken and overcome with grief that it seems to her that the only alternative is death, albeit that she has other options to help cope with her sorrow. Without a doubt, seeing a once happy, wedded woman wishing for death in response to her husband, Jason, leaving her causes the audience to feel sympathetic towards her situation. Secondly, Medea is characterized as hopeless through her suffering and pain- both past and present.

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Before the events of this play, Medea kills her own brother to be with Jason, resulting in her domestic banishment. Medea expresses her intense regret and pain: “But I am deserted, a refuge, thought nothing of by my husband, something won in a foreign land. I have no mother nor brother, nor anyone with whom I can take refuge in this sea of woe.” (Euripides 9.) Remorseful, Medea is reflecting on her brother’s death, which ironically turned out to be for nothing. Medea’s realization emphasizes the severity of her pain. Most of all, she contemplates about Jason leaving her to be with another woman- leading to Medea concluding that she is worthless in the eyes of her husband. This analyzation leads to Medea’s realization that as a result of her actions and Jason’s change of heart, she no longer has anyone in her life to depend on. Ultimately, Medea’s hopelessness might have caused the audience to feel sorry for her because she still displays normal “human” emotion at this point in the play. Lastly, Medea is shown as hopeless as she is hated by the Corinthians and even her own family.

After she kills her brother, she is no longer welcomed by her family. Her domestic exile is portrayed as Euripides writes: “No father’s house for a haven is at hand for you now.” (15). When this line is said, the audience is reminded that Medea can no longer find comfort in the house of her family, her own blood. Possibly, Medea’s status made the audience realize how harsh circumstances were for Medea as they might have imagined what it would be like to be unwelcome by their own families. Medea’s lack of popularity shows again as she is told by Creon, the King of Corinth, that she is to leave the land as an exile: “But I shall go from this land into exile, friendless.” (Euripides 19.) Even though Medea says this as she is attempting to manipulate Creon, it is still valid as she would be friendless had she been cast out from the Corinthian society.

Also, the hypothetical situation reminds Euripides’ audience that if she was actually forced into exile, she would not be missed by anyone, highlighting her loneliness. In summary, Medea portrays multiple characteristics, but most of all, she is written as hopeless. Euripides chose to characterize Medea as hopeless to allow the reader/audience member to empathize with Medea more, possibly making her seem more “human.” He does this by writing Medea as being depressed, by making her suffer, and by making her a social outcast. Even though Medea is, without a doubt, a psychopath, her hopelessness makes her more human, and one dare say, relatable.

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Medea: Empathizing With A Murderer And Psychopath. (2022, July 08). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 29, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/medea-empathizing-with-a-murderer-and-psychopath/
“Medea: Empathizing With A Murderer And Psychopath.” Edubirdie, 08 Jul. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/medea-empathizing-with-a-murderer-and-psychopath/
Medea: Empathizing With A Murderer And Psychopath. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/medea-empathizing-with-a-murderer-and-psychopath/> [Accessed 29 Sept. 2022].
Medea: Empathizing With A Murderer And Psychopath [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jul 08 [cited 2022 Sept 29]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/medea-empathizing-with-a-murderer-and-psychopath/
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