Submitted By j0nasx0x25
Foreshadowing in Medea Sometimes the audience knows how the drama will end long before the final curtain. In Medea by Euripides, Medea’s actions in pursuit of justice and revenge against Jason are foreshadowed by the statements of the chorus, Medea’s dialogue with Aegeus, and the statements and actions of Medea. Throughout the play, three women, also known as the chorus, follow the journey Medea makes and commentate on what is happening. These women provide the reader with omens that help the audience know what happens next in the play before it actually happens. These three omens are “a young mare broke from her chariot and tore with her teeth a stallion” (Medea 2: 13-4), “a slave came up to the harbor-gate, carrying a basket of new-caught fish; one of the fish took fire and burned in the wet basket with a high flame” (2: 22-4), and “a black leopard was seen gliding through the market place” (2: 24). The horse omen foreshadows Medea, the mare, coming after and attacking Jason, the stallion. The fish omen foreshadows how Creusa and Creon die, like the fish, by burning from a fire. The leopard omen foreshadows the darkness and evil that will take over Corinth. Lastly, the women say “and women they say can do no good but in childbirth. It may be so, but she can do evil” (1: 231). This foreshadows that Medea will become evil and commit evil acts. Another instance in which foreshadowing plays an important role in the play is through the dialogue of Aegeus and Medea. It is in this conversation where Medea first gets the idea of killing her children in her plan of revenge upon Jason. Aegeus says to Medea, “when death comes Medea it is for a childless man, utter despair, darkness, extinction, one’s children are the life after death” (1: 418-9). This statement gets Medea excited and puts her plan of vengeance in motion. Medea’s plan is getting vengeance on her “dog-eyed enemy” by killing the man’s children first, unchild him, and then unlife him (1: 419-21). This conversation with Aegeus foreshadows Medea killing her two sons and making Jason suffer in the way he made her suffer. Medea also states that “they will be punished”, which foreshadows how Medea plans to punish Creon, Jason, and Creusa for the way they have treated her (1: 433) . Lastly, Medea says that before she goes to Athens with Aegeus, she “has some things to do that men will talk of afterwards with hushed voices” (1: 436-8). This foreshadows that she will get her revenge on Jason and kill her sons, Creon, and Creusa before she will go to Athens. Many of the things Medea says and does have a hidden connotation and foreshadow an event that will take place further into the play. For example, Medea says “Something might happen. It is—likely that—something might happen to the bride and marriage” (1: 282-3). Through this statement, Medea is foreshadowing that she intends to hurt the bride and her marriage with Jason. Medea warns Jason by saying, “we shall see in the send who’s to be pitied” (1: 274). This statement foreshadows how at the end of the story, Jason is left with nothing and is pitied more than Medea. In another conversation with Jason, Medea asks Jason if he loves his children and if he would grieve if anything were to happen to them (2: 249-50). After Medea learns that Jason loves his children, she says “he loves them. Therefore his dear children are not going to that city but a darker city where no games are played and no music is heard. Watch this man, women: he is going to weep blood, and quite soon, and much more than I have wept” (2: 73-7). Through these statements Medea is foreshadowing that her children will not go to Athens with her, instead, she will kill them and Jason will suffer from grief. In conclusion, through the chorus’ omens, evil statements and actions from Medea, and dialogue with Aegeus, the reader can predict the outcome of the play before it closes. In the statements of the three women, Medea, and Aegeus there are hidden connotations warning the reader of the evil acts coming later in the play. Therefore, foreshadowing plays an important role in the play Medea by Euripides.