The Role Of Betrayal And Revenge In Medea

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Euripides uses betrayal and revenge as strong influences on the characters of his play, “Medea”. The story starts seeing Medea as the one who’s been betrayed but as it continues, she turns that hurt into revenge, therefore losing trust in other characters. Her revenge is seen as excessive and perverse. Jason and ageus are only thinking about what is best for them which gives Medea the opportunity to manipulate both of them. At the beginning the nurse and the chorus are on Medea’s side as they are friends, they find Medea’s revenge on Jason to be acceptable until the infanticide at the end.

Medea is a complex character who acts in very extreme ways, her betrayal by Jason forces her to alter her emotional pain into passionate and violent revenge. Therefore, Medea’s revenge was acceptable because of the hardships Jason put her through, after losing all her family to be with him. At the beginning of the play the Nurse starts, 'she is learning what it is to be a foreigner, cast out, alone and despised”, which hurts Medea. Her could not bear the pain that Jason gave her therefor she thinks the only way to get rid of her pain is to put Jason through the same thing. Medea then plays to Creon’s pity which makes him underestimate her power. This provides her with the chance to betray Creon and heartlessly murder Glauce. As we have seen in conversations with both Creon and Jason, “{sinking to her knees and seizing CREON by the hand}, on no, Creon, not that I beg you” she manipulates the men to participate in her revenge plans. She feels hurt at the thought of killing her own children and recognizes the crime as Infanticide, but her need to triumph over Jason is greater than her motherly love. This showing Medea’s psychomachia is the high point of her conflict in relation to betrayal.

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Jason and ageus were both manipulated by Medea, as she took advantage of the fact the she was a girl. It is suggested in the the beginning of the play Jason is seen as the betrayer because he had dishonoured a sacred oath. We later learn he wasn’t betraying Medea to hurt her or get revenge for anything as he is only thinking about himself in a selfish way as he wanted higher status and more wealth. He also claims he was doing It for the benefit of Medea and the kids, But later abandons her, Jason has not only dishonoured her because no divorced woman is respected, but he also deprived her of an identity. As she has nowhere to go because she had betrayed her own city-state for him and in exile, she will be dependent on the help of the King Aegeus. Jason’s lack of shame and his refusal to acknowledgeable the help and everything she gave up for him are further instances of betrayal. Ageus gets taken advantage by Medea in only think about himself like Jason because he wanted to be fertile again. He is the last obstacle to her plans for revenge has been cleared 'Do you not trust me? What in this still bothers you?'. Due to Aegeus' promise, Athens is now as an unconditional sanctuary for her, even in her ultimate state as murderess. Jason’s actions and the breaking of the oaths that is so important to Medea is what drives her to such extremes.

Betrayal and revenge don’t necessarily influence the behaviour of the nurse and the chorus. But as Medea’s friend and as being other women in the society her actions impact the way they see Medea’s as a person. At the beginning of the play the chorus were very against Jason and everything he stood for as he was very disrespectful too all women. But I may not be wise to say this I think You've acted wrongly: you have betrayed your wife.”, later in the show during in the stasimon when they imagine the destitute that she is about to endure. Medea has become an outcast from both her homeland and her newly adopted home. This desperateness makes her even more the seamless target for the chorus's pity. Their motherly instincts want nothing more than to comfort the poor Medea. This caused them to also want to get revenge on Jason. The major turning points in the play is when Medea asks the chorus of women's silence as she contrives an evil plot to gain revenge. After the infanticide the chorus and nurse see Medea in a new light. They wonder how she could be the 'the killer of your children” and the 'unholy one'.

Ultimately Euripides uses betrayal and revenge to strongly influences characters at different aspects of the play. Medea’s betrayal by Jason quickly turns into brutal revenge, because of the hardships he put her through. She continues to manipulate Jason and Agues through her revenge and uses her female status to override them. However, she has the support of the Nurse and the chorus women who believe her actions are understandable as a cause of the betrayal she has gone through. This is until she performs the act of the infanticide. The play of “Medea” has a very large focus on how betrayal can turn into revenge and how the outcome can completely change a character’s perspective.

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The Role Of Betrayal And Revenge In Medea. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 22, 2024, from
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