Medea Motivated By Passion Vs Jason Motivated By Reason
“Medea” is a Greek tragedy by Euripides detailing the journey of a woman and protagonist Medea. The play is an immaculate symphony of all the decisions and motivations of Medea and the sharp contrast of those decisions to the Antagonist and Medea’s husband Jason. In “Medea” Euripides explores the theme of rationality and reason contrasted by irrationality and passion through the two main characters Jason and Medea. Jason is a legendary hero and adventurer in many of Euripides plays but even as the Antagonist in “Medea” plays the role of reason as Euripides shows that all his decisions are based on what makes the most rational sense for him to gain fame and power, this is in sharp contrast to how Euripides shows Medea as always acting based on her base emotions of love, revenge, hate and even though she makes rational decisions in her attempt to satisfy those emotions of passion she brings death and destruction for all in the way.
The whole plot of the play kicks off on the context that Jason leaves Medea and her two children and goes off to marry the Princess and daughter of Creo. At a glance, this seems like a betrayal to us, but for the ancient Greek audience from when this masterpiece from Euripides has first performed this kind of a marriage would’ve been commonplace. This point is made by Jason throughout the play as he says he does not marry the princess Glauce, “because he was in love with her” but because the marriage made the most sense to his progression in the world. Jason is an adventurer a thrill-seeker, someone who always wants more than he has: through this marriage, Jason wants power and wealth as he says “a poor friend is shunned” and is on some level afraid of how a “marriage to the foreigner” Medea would hinder his progression in the world and takes this step even though he realises how much this betrayal would hurt Medea. By the way how the playwright showcases Jason as a man who priorities Power, wealth and superficial fame over things like family and love, show him as a man fuelled only by his progression in the world and the rational reasoning for it in contrast to Medea who puts love and family above all.
By starting the play by introducing Medea to the audience in a state of extreme emotional distress due to her betrayal by her husband taking a second wife the dramatist Euripides solidifies Medea as a character-driven by passion very early on. Medea is shown to be in a state of total depression and disarray almost hysterical. In her state of hysteria, she screams out her most vile thoughts like how she wanted “cursed children… to die”, these thoughts not only horrify the chorus in the play by also give the audience an almost shocking insight into the horrific act of child slaughter that takes place later on. In her passionate cries to disarray, Medea also says how she, “Betrayed” her brother instead of saying how she, “killed” him still trying to justify her prior act of unforgivable murder she did for Jason, giving the audience a glimpse that she still maintains a semblance of rationality behind the hysteria, as she paints herself as the victim of Jason. Later on in the play, as she is about to murder her children she tries to justify her actions to herself saying, “my passion is the master of my reason” further proving that Medea indeed is motivated and fuelled by passion above all.
In contrast to the logical reasoning behind Jason’s marriage to Glauce, Medea is very clear that her decision to murder her innocent children was based completely on passion. Even with that Medea uses logical thinking to achieve her goal of revenge on everyone. Even in a state of hysteria and disarray, she manages to use her logical reasoning to outsmart everyone else even at a dear cost to her. Even though she loses her kids and laments their death dearly by the end of the play she is the last man standing and gets out unscathed. Medea knew she had been betrayed and as a “foreign woman” and single mother she had a disadvantage but uses reasoning to manipulate both the king Argues and Creon to achieve her goal of revenge. Through this Euripides presents Medea as an intelligent and extremely cunning woman who will go to any lengths to get what she wants and will not be taken advantage of.
Through these we the audience are presented with Jason a man who uses logic and reason to guide him through his life but does not fully comprehend the consequences of his outcomes and contrastingly Medea a woman fuelled by her passion; her despair and a great need for revenge for betrayal, which leads to the death of both her beloved kids and many others but she thinks her actions through and makes smart calculated and extremely cunning and vicious moves against her enemies. Through these Euripides makes a very revolutionary point for his time that women can be emotional and sensitive but also smart and calculated and when it comes to things and people that they love be deadly, the play starts with Jason being the in the right and everyone saying that Medea is being unreasonable but through the great lengths she goes for revenge by the end she shows that she will not be pushed around.
The catastrophic Greek tragedy, “Medea” deals with the maltreatment faced by the titular character and how such struggles can lead to immoral retributive acts. Medea challenges society’s paradigm of the typical woman who is a “timid creature” and a “coward” through her headstrong and opinionated character, thereby establishing herself as an exemplar for women. Moreover, Euripides illustrates how Medea, as a woman, struggles against her male consort, as well as the patriarchal Athenian society and how this conflict is only...
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