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Medea VS The Patriarchal World

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The tale of Medea begins in a dire state of suffering and betrayal. The play revolves arounds a devastated and enraged Medea that seeks out vengeance on her newly betrothed ex-husband, Jason. Despite Medea’s murderous tendencies, she feels utterly betrayed as well as abandoned and wants nothing more than for Jason to feel as she does, if not worse. Jason is presented as non other than the story’s antagonist. He has abandoned his wife and two children for the daughter of a king. Medea, blinded by devastation and rage, stops at nothing and no one in order to achieve her own definition of justice. Jason’s hides his toxicity and spineless, misogynistic character behind his bogus argument of selflessness and sacrifice. Medea is in no way a saint, however her willingness to sacrifice everything in the name of justice highlights her extreme persistence, strength and unapologetic bravery in a time so dominated by the patriarchal society.

Delving deeper into this whirlwind of chaos and self-destruction, Jason’s primary defense over his betrayal is the ultimate form of egocentrism. As if it was not already a challenge to sympathize with Jason, his argument solidifies the fact that he does not contain one empathetic bone in his body. Jason claims that the true reason he left Medea and the children was to give them a better life so they would not live in poverty. He asserts that it would tie them to the royal family, ensuring a future for their two sons. He describes his new marriage as a plan in order to “prosper and live in the comfort we deserve, surrounded by true friends…I’ve forged an alliance that protects and elevates us all”(Euripides, 54). Jason’s weak rationalizations does not diminish the fact that he deserted his family out of his own self-interest. If it wasn’t for Medea, Jason would have never achieved his fame and fortune. Medea’s tremendous role in Jason’s success seemed to have escaped his mind as he barely even acknowledges her sacrifices. She fought and killed for him, and he rewarded her with deception and disloyalty. Jason has managed to turn a woman’s passion and love into pure rage. The only thing his arguments and excuses actually accomplished was showcasing his insensitivity, self-absorption, and complete lack of respect for Medea.

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Amongst Jason’s feeble attempts to defend his selfish actions, Medea refuses to be silenced and makes sure that she is heard loud and clear. Medea argues that he speaks nothing but lies as his words are rendered useless after his betrayal. To Medea, Jason has broken the most important and sacred vow a person could make. He has stripped away everything that has ever meant something to her and destroyed it with no hope of revival. Not only has Medea restored Jason’s name by helping him obtain the Golden Fleece but she has also saved his life, killed her own brother in their escape, and fled her homeland for their crimes. Jason so graciously returned the favor by taking a new bride behind Medea’s back for money and fame. Medea’s powerful speech for Jason stresses all she’s lost by expressing “For you, I became my family’s worst enemy. For you, I set my fatal traps and in return you made a spectacle of me for all of Greece to see… Surely your new wife is reassured to see your sons poor and homeless, and me – the former wife – who betrayed herself to save you, destroyed again.” (Euripides, 52). Here Medea reiterates everything that she has lost. However, the most devastating loss she suffered was the love and trust of her husband and the vows and countless promises that were made. It is clear now that Jason’s ill-conceived arguments are all the more useless and irrational.

Greek Society during the Classical Age was not an ideal time to be a woman. In Ancient Greece, it was common knowledge to think of women as inferior to men. Women had one main job and it was to bear and raise children and not much else. If they did carry out other tasks, it was usually done in the interest of their husbands or other men. (McKay, 126). Because of this well-know fact, Euripides was widely known for having an extraordinary and unique take on women. His female characters and their complex natures juxtaposed the very ideals that Greek society was so famously known for. Because of this, Jason is seen as no stranger to the Greek patriarchal society. Jason is portrayed as the symbol of the Greek patriarchy with his frequent jabs and insults directed at women. Medea can then be seen as a feminist symbol, as she is not only addressing Jason’s wrong doings but the Greek society as a whole. She directly challenges every stereotype placed upon women such as their passivity and weakness and even protests motherhoods traditional values. Medea’s opening speech to the women of Corinth highlights the incessant injustices that haunt women on a day to day basis. Euripides emphasizes the truth behind marriage by stating, “What other creatures are bred so exquisitely and purposefully for mistreatment as women are? Think of how we buy ourselves husbands, power and alliance for them, slavery and conquest over us.” (Euripides, 44). Medea is not to be reduced down to a jealous ex, as suggested by Jason’s patronizing words, however her passion and anger is directed towards something of larger importance. Medea is an excellent example of women who were once suppressed so greatly, now rising up and asserting their power in the most unexpected ways.

Jason’s complete and utter betrayal was the driving force that drove Medea to commit unspeakable acts of justice and revenge. Jason’s useless rationalizations became the spark that ignited the fire within her to seek and fight injustices against women. Medea wanted none other than to be with Jason, who she felt such a deep love and passion for. This love and passion was then forced to turn into anger and hate by the one she loved the most. The misogynistic and villainous character of Jason make him out to be a representation of Greek society, and the high intelligence and bravery of Medea allows her to be the feminist force against these ideals. Medea was truly a force to be reckoned with as she was a woman who embodied nothing but strength, intelligence, and bravery.

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Medea VS The Patriarchal World. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/medea-vs-the-patriarchal-world/
“Medea VS The Patriarchal World.” Edubirdie, 29 Jun. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/medea-vs-the-patriarchal-world/
Medea VS The Patriarchal World. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/medea-vs-the-patriarchal-world/> [Accessed 8 Feb. 2023].
Medea VS The Patriarchal World [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 29 [cited 2023 Feb 8]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/medea-vs-the-patriarchal-world/
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