Medea

Written by. Wesley Milam

Abandoned by her husband Jason, Medea seeks justice. From Greek mythology and Euripides’ play Medea[1], she is a Female Hero and a Righteous Avenger.

In Medea’s story, Jason, leader of the Argonauts, goes out to obtain the Golden Fleece and his place as king of Thessaly. The fleece is owned by King Aeetes of the Island of Colchis;  Jason is told that if he performs three certain tasks the fleece will be his. However, when approached with the tasks he loses all confidence and cannot achieve them. The goddess Hera, his patron, seeing this, convinces Aphrodite to make the daughter of King Aeetes, Medea, fall in love with Jason. With her aid, Jason acquires the fleece. Together they have two children and flee to the island of Corinth.

On the Island of Corinth, Jason is offered one of King Creon’s daughters Glauce. Jason does marry Glauce and abandons Medea and their two children. Angered by his betrayal, Medea seeks out justice. She presents a cursed dress to Jason’s new bride Glauce; when she wears it, it burns her alive. King Creon tries to save her but is burned as well. As a final attack on Jason, Medea stabs their children to death.

Medea is obviously a Female Hero of the classical era, and her quest for vengeance marks the beginning of her path as a Righteous Avenger. In Euripides play Medea she faces the first challenge through the chorus. They beg her not to continue on this journey, warning her that what she will do will be disastrous. Medea ignores all warnings and continues on her path of violence.

 

[1] Euripides, Medea (Indianapolis: Hackett Pub Co, 2008).

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