Medea: The Oriental Witch Essay Example
Medea: The Oriental Witch Essay Example

Medea: The Oriental Witch Essay Example

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  • Pages: 7 (1811 words)
  • Published: November 30, 2017
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For centuries, people have read Euripides play "Medea" and pondered the question, "Does Euripides want to portray Medea as a witch or as a woman? " When the play was first written, powerful women were perceived to be dangerous or commonly thought of as witches. No women were aloud to explore knowledge or to live as a free woman in today's world. Bound by their jobs, women tended to the home and cared for the children. Before watching the play, audience members knew Medea as a powerful woman, knew she practiced witchcraft, and knew her evil past.

Medea represents a great example of a witch, possessing the qualities of powerfulness, strong eloquence with words, and knowledge of witchcraft. Euripides play greatly portrays Medea as an evil witch. Medea is perceived as an evil witch for


atleast three main reasons. Firstly, the way Medea betrayed her own country and helped Jason succeed. Medea, the daughter of King Aeetes in the mystical land of Colchis, met Jason, her future husband, while he was on a quest for The Golden Fleece.

King Pelias of Iolcus sent Jason to capture The Golden Fleece in Colchis and return it Iolcus.To complete the task, Jason must first rope the two fire breathing bulls of Hephaestus and with them plow the Field of Ares. Next, he must sow the soil with the teeth of the monster serpent slain by Cadmus. Finally, he must capture The Golden Fleece from the dragon that guards it.

Knowing the completion of this task will be difficult, Medea defied her father and agreed to help him in exchange for Jason vowing to take her to Greece and marry

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her. Medea previously held the position of High Priestess to the god Hecate and knew quite well all aspects of magical arts.By using lotions to protect him from the fiery bulls and magical charms to lull the dragon to sleep that guarded the fleece, Medea successfully helped complete his quest. In allowing him to capture the Golden Fleece, Medea committed treason and knew she enraged her father. The two quickly boarded Jason's ship, the Argo, and headed for Greece.

Along with Medea and Jason, Medea's brother accompanied them on the journey. Knowing her father would chase them by ship, which he did, and that he would kill both of them, Medea decided to kill her brother so Jason and her could escape freely.The crew watched in terror as she took out a sword and swiftly cut him into pieces, tossing them over the side of the Argo into the water below. Medea's plan worked, her father stopped to retrieve the pieces from the waves to give her brother a proper burial. The two escaped safely and made it to Greece.

Soon after their arrival, Jason and Medea quickly married in a cave on the Island of Drepane. Upon reaching the shore, Jason soon learned that Pelias murdered his mother and father. Filled with rage, Jason wanted to take the city by force that very moment, but Medea rescued him again. Read also Salem Witch trials questions and answersShe instructed Jason to conceal the ship and wait for her signal, the waving of a torch from the palace window. Medea transformed herself into an old woman

and along with her handmaidens and a statue of Artemis preceded to the city gates. Medea told the guards that the goddess bestowed good fortune on Iolcus and used them as her messengers.

Being fearful of insulting Artemis, they allowed their entrance into the streets of the city. She made her way into the palace. Pelias awoke, terrified to find her in his room. Pelias asked what Artemis wanted and in her crone voice she answered, "A reward for his piety. Casting away her disguise, she turned young again before his sleepy eyes.Medea took an old ram and cut him into thirteen pieces, which she placed in a caldron to boil.

After uttering some magical words, she reached into the pot and pulled out a young lamb. Convinced of her power and eager to regain his youth, Pelias cooperated with Medea. She bade him to lie down and with some magic words charmed him to sleep. She instructed his daughters to chop their father into pieces and place the pieces into the caldron.

The girls stood back anxiously awaiting Pelias to emerge from the pot as a young man; the girls, however, killed their own father.Medea signaled and Jason took the city with no resistance. Jason chose not to become the King of the city, but rather return to Corinth. No caring woman betrays her country in such a way and kills her own brother, just to escape her father. The plan to kill King Pelias further shows her powers as a witch. No part of the common knowledge of an Athenian woman contains potions, lotions, magical spells and charms, only a knowledgeable evil witch.

These reasons justify Medea as a witch. Secondly, Medea poisons the daughter of King Creon, the King of Corinth.After coming to Corinth, Jason bared two children with Medea. Medea, an exile and betrayer of her own land, keeps the children from becoming citizens of Corinth. Jason decides to find a new lover, so the children can become citizens. He tells Medea his plan and justifies it when he says, ".

.. What luckier chance could I have come across than this, An exile to marry the daughter of a King? It was not - the point that seems to upset you - that I grew tired of your bed and felt the need of a new bride; nor with any wish to outdo your number of children. We have enough already.

I am quite content. But - this was the main reason - that we might live well, and not be short of anything. I know that a man's friends leave him stone-cold if he becomes poor. Also, that I bring up my children worthily of my position, and, by producing more of them to be brothers of yours, we would draw the families together and be happy. You need no children and pays me to do good to those I have now by having others. " (Euripides, 18) Although a just cause, Medea does not agree with it.

In reality, Jason only wants to protect the interests of his children.Jason does not want his children exiled or killed because of Medea. Medea's evil side comes forth and now she plans to poison King Creon's daughter, for revenge against Jason's betrayal of marriage. Medea plans to fool

Jason into thinking she understands his cause and to send the children back with gifts that poison and kill the daughter of King Creon. This is Medea's plan, "I shall send one of my servants to find Jason and request him to come once more into my sight. And when he comes the words I will say will be soft ones.

I'll say that I agree with him, that I approve the royal wedding he has made, betraying me.I'll say it was profitable, an excellent idea. But I shall beg that my children remain here: Not that I would leave in a country that hates me children of mine to feel their enemies' insults, But that by a trick I may kill the king's daughter. For I will send the children with gifts in their hands, to carry to the bride, so as not to be banished - a finely woven dress and a golden diadem.

And if she takes them and wears them upon her skin, she and all who touch the girl will die in agony; such poison will lay upon the gifts I send. " (Euripides, 26)Jason comes as planned and the children took the gifts to the King. As expected the daughter wore the clothing and died, but she also they killed the King. When he knelt down and kissed her goodbye to pay his respect, he touched the clothing and poisoned himself. Ordered by the country, Medea must flee the country at once.

Once again, Medea uses her magical powers, but this time not to help Jason, but to hurt Jason. Again, no Athenian women would be able to accomplish

this task without feeling any guilt or fear. Medea's absence of these feelings therefore makes her a witch.Finally, Medea kills her own children. Medea kills her children for two reasons: for revenge against Jason and for the safety of her children.

She did not want to the take the children with her, nor did she want them to suffer in Corinth or hear the mocking of her enemies. Medea now speaks of her idea: "... for I shall kill my own children.

My children, there is none who can give them safety. And when I have ruined the whole of Jason's house, I shall leave the land and flee from the murder of my dear children, and I shall have done a dreadful deed.For it is not bearable to mocked by enemies. So it must happen.

What profit have I in life? " (Euripides 26). After killing her children, she must flee the country because of her threat to the people. Her unstable mind and knowledge about witchcraft and magical potions, makes her a very dangerous and evil woman. When Jason asks why she killed the children, she replies, "To make you feel pain. " She has gotten her way, Jason came back to the see the children one last time and she denied him from seeing his own children in the house.

Some think of it as a punishment for Jason by the Gods, while others think that its Medea's way of getting revenge for betrayal of their marriage. Medea rides away from her dreadful deeds and sins on a chariot. Regardless of the situation, no reason justifies the death of their children, especially the

reason of revenge. Only an evil person, such as a witch, could commit filicide and flee on a chariot away from their sins and dreadful deeds with no regret or emotions. At the time of writing this play, the perception of women was far different. Women with any knowledge or power were perceived as monstrous or evil.

For centuries, people have read Medea and pondered the question, "Is Medea portrayed as a witch or as an Athenian woman? " Through Medea's use of her knowledge of witchcraft and magical arts, she got her way and revenge on Jason. The true question is, "Would a sensitive, caring woman be able to commit these horrifying acts, without showing emotion or regret for her sins? " No, only a woman with special knowledge or evil powers could do this, not a normal Athenian woman. Medea is unarguably a witch, when looking at her past and textual evidence from Euripides play "Medea".

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