Medea and her family, including Jason are all outsiders, as the setting of this story is in Corinth, where Medea left her hometown for. They are all there as foreigners, hence they are all considered outsiders in the country.
Medea is an outsider in 4 ways. Firstly, she is a foreigner like her family members. Secondly, she is a woman in this patriarchal society of ancient Greek. Thirdly, she is a semi-goddess in the human world. Lastly, she does not fit into the gender stereotype of women at that time, when women should be weak and gentle, not warrior-like.
She also became an outsider to her family as she was exiled. Line 14 pg 3,” exile was bearable”. She is a foreigner as she left her hometown to a foreign country? “She knows now what it means to leave home. Anywhe...
re else you’re a foreigner.
“But I’m alone, stateless, abused/ By a husband like something picked up abroad. /No mother. No brother. No relation/ To turn to in a time of trouble” – “But you left your home/ Passion in your hear,/ Past the twin rocks/ To a foreign country” – She’s a foreigner to this unfamiliar land, hence she is yet to be accepted into this society. She will be a foreigner to her family if she goes back too as she has betrayed her family. She became a foreigner to every place, and now she’s exiled from Corinth, she has nowhere to go.
“What city will take me in, grant me asylum/ A home, security form avengers/Nothing. Nowhere” – This sentence depicts the situation that Medea was in. She’s a foreigner to everyone who has nowhere to
go. She could not even turn to her family as she betrayed them for Jason. Woman- “Poor women/ No living, breathing creatures feels as we do.
“ When a man starts to get bored at home/ He can visit a friend, some kindred spirit, / Look for consolation elsewhere,/ We have a single focus, him. ” – “And once she’s married, there’s no saying “no”. / It’s her who has to change the patterns of her life. ” –“After all, we women are good for nothing- /That’s what they say- except causing trouble”- “Apollo, God of music,/ Gave his talent to men,/ Excluding us women”. Gender stereotypes exist in ancient Greek times. Society is a patriarchal one and hence society is male-dominated.
As a woman, she is marginalized and oppressed by society. Semi-goddess “You, a princess, a granddaughter of the Sun. / You have the knowledge, Medea. ” – “ You found it inconvenient to have a foreign wife” – She is not a human, she is a semi-goddess, probably not in a human form too.
The word ‘foreign’ in line 592 refers to being different from others, probably referring to Medea being different from other women, and also different from humans. People see her differently, even Jason. “To begin with, instead of that uncivilized place/ You now live in Greece, a seat of justice/ And the rule of law instead of mindless violence. ” War-like “I’d rather fight three wars than give birth once” “A woman’s always full of fears, of course/Petrified by the mere sight of steel. “Because you’re clever. And you’re capable of anything.
”She is violent and she wants to kill. She uses killing to
solve her problems and is revengeful. She even plots her husband’s revenge on their kids. She is also ruthless, single-minded.
When she decides to take revenge, not even her mum’s love could stop her. Medea’s plan to turn the hierarchy around also makes her sacrifice her own children. Clearly, she loves her children a lot as shown in page 31 line 1043 “MY willpower deserts me, I can’t do it. /Change of plan.
I’ll take them away. ” She has been struggling with herself as it is difficult for a mother to bring herself to murder her own children. Jason- “When I arrived here from Iolcos/ Weighed down by a series of disasters,/what greater ambition could I have had,/ As an immigrant, than to marry the king’s daughter”. He is a foreigner like Medea too. He wants to be accepted into society and he is an ambitious person, hence he decided that the best thing he can do is to marry Creon’s daughter.
Jason realized that by marrying Medea, a barbarian, he has usurped social norms and in order to be accepted in the new country and to have better social status, it is wiser to marry a Greek, and best if he managed to marry the princess. This would have made his social status rise and they will live a “respectable life” as shown on page 18 line 558. Jason cares about power and fame, hence he decided to marry the princess. However, it is easier for him to fit into society compared to Medea as he is a human. The ancient Greek society is also a patriarchal one. However, Euripides seems to portray Jason as someone
less than a man in a deeper context.
Jason gets all his glory and social status through his women. Medea saved his life and it is shown on page 16, lines 476- 482. When you were sent off to tame fire-breathing bulls,/To yoke them and sow that deadly field. Then there was the dragon, guardian of the Golden Fleece, With all these massive coils, never sleeping. Who killed it? I killed it and saved your reputation in the process.” Through the princess, he also managed to get higher social status, and maybe even King in the future.
A man should be the provider instead of the receiver. He uses women to raise his status and increase his power in society. However, this defies social norms as the real identity of women in ancient Greek society is to be more inferior to men.
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