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The Acts of Medea

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The Acts of Medea: A Theme of Revenge

Medea is devoted to her husband Jason and sacrificed her own life for his love. Jason has so much greed for royalty that he deserts Medea and their two children and marries the Princess Glauce. Medea’s love for Jason now turns into hatred as her thirst for revenge rules her over emotions. She despises Jason and plots to kill not only his new wife, but his own seeds – their children. The degree of sanity behind Medea’s emotions contributes to her act of revenge.
Medea is considered what we call “a woman scorned.” She could not imagine a life without Jason and is devastated by his betrayal. Now she is determined to avenge her broken heart. This is evidenced in lines 798-801 when Medea tells the Women of Corinth, “I can do no other thing….. You have not suffered as I have…….Yes, for this is the best way to wound my husband.” (Lawall, p. 707). The Women of Corinth are trying to persuade Medea not to commit this murderous act but Medea is insisting that this must be done. They are not experiencing the pain and hurt that Medes is feeling so their opinion is of no interest to Medea. Medea wants Jason to feel the pain that she is feeling and this can only be done if he loses something he loves. Her humanity is recognized. She sees the need for revenge, to hurt the one that hurt her. She is in a state of rage and wants to slay the innocent in order to cause Jason the deepest pain.
When Jason abandoned Medea, all she could focus on was what she sacrificed for him and the love they both once shared for each other. She was extremely committed to Jason. She killed for him and even points out the pain she had to endure in childbirth. She comments on this in line 248-249 when she says, “I would very much rather stand three times in the front of battle than bear one child.” (Lawall, p. 696). Medea is discussing the troubles of women and is basically saying that childbirth is so painful that she would rather fight in a war three times than go through childbirth once. Even though she felt this way about childbirth, she bared two children, for Jason only for him to leave her.
In just a wink of an eye, she became the victim and the villain. The victim, because it seems as though everyone is against her; she is alone, is facing exile, killed her brother and father, and sacrificed everything she ever owned or had for the love of Jason. The villain, because her position as a grieving and betrayed wife led to the wrongdoings of murder. As stated in line 261-264, Medea speaks to the Women of Corinth, saying “…..a woman is full of fear…..but once she is wronged in the matter of love, no other soul can hold so many thoughts of blood.” (Lawall, p.696). Medea is full of fear (for her children) and anger (towards Jason). If she is unhappy, Jason must endure unhappiness as well, even if it results in the death of not only her rival, but her own children.
It is debatable if Medea could have accomplished her goal without killing her children.
She accepted that Jason didn’t love her anymore but she knew that he loved his new wife and of course, their children. However, Jason’s attitude towards Medea is unacceptable. He showed no remorse or regrets for the way he treats her. In line 593, Jason replies to Medea, “It was what you chose yourself. Don’t blame others for it.” In line 594, Medea responds, “And how did I choose it? Did I betray my husband?” (Lawall, p. 703). He is acting wrongly and shows resentment toward Medea. Did he forget what she did for him? Did he really love her? I’m pretty sure that these are the same questions that went through Medea’s mind as she was planning her revenge. Her vengeful acts are justified and I clearly understand her state of mind. For Medea, it is a pleasure to see Jason suffer the loss of their children. His suffering outweighs the remorse she had for killing them. It is often said that “love conquers all” but in this case, revenge overcomes love and “Medea conquers all.”

Works Cited
Lawall, Sarah N. The Norton Anthology of Western Literature. New York: W.W. Norton, 2006. Print.
Registrada, Marca. The World Book Encyclopedia. Chicago: Field Enterprises Educational Corporation, 1967. Print

SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on Medea.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. n.d.. Web.

1 Jan. 2013.

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