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Love Turned Evil Essay, Research Paper
“If only they had never gone…to fetch the Golden Fleece! Then neither would Medea, my mistress, ever have set sail for the walled town of Iolcus, mad love for Jason…” (Sanderson 14). This quote is the opening lines to Euripides’ tragic play, “Medea” (Blaiklock 234). Their predestined fates all begin with Jason and his conquest for the Golden Fleece (Hamilton 161). Medea, known to be a powerful sorceress, was hit by Cupid’s arrow and fell madly in love with Jason (Sanderson 3). It was Aphrodite and Hera’s plan for Medea to aid Jason in his adventures even though it meant betraying her father, her homeland, and the death of her brother (Hamilton 168). Going against her father, Medea retrieved the Golden Fleece from the sacred grove and fled to Greece with Jason (Hamilton 173). Medea’s brother was sent to stop them, but Medea tricked him into meeting her at a temple where Jason was waiting to kill him (Sanderson 4). Medea was overcome with love and would do anything in her power to help Jason (Hamilton 172). All she received in return was treachery (Hamilton 175).
Jason and Medea returned to Corinth where they were married and lived happily together for ten years (Paranda 3). Medea’s exile from her homeland and loss of her family seemed irrelevant compared to her great love for Jason and the birth of her two sons (Hamilton 175). After all the sacrifices Medea had made, Jason violated his sacred oaths and promises (Hamilton 175). He grew tired of Medea and wanted a younger and more representative wife (Paranda 3). In thoughts of his own selfish ambition, Jason was to marry the daughter of the King of Corinth (Hamilton 176). Humiliated and disturbed, Medea sought revenge (Paranda 3). This led to tragedy (Parada 3). She knew of only one way to make Jason pay for his betrayal: “By death, oh, by death, shall the conflict of life be decided, Life’s little day ended” (Hamilton 178). In the classic tragic drama “Medea”, Euripides illustrates how the power of love can be used as evil.
Love is the significant issue and driving force of the play “Medea” (Zuger 29). It is depicted in many different ways throughout the course of the plot (Zuger 29). At first, Medea could not resist her love and was astounded with incredible desire for Jason (Sanderson 3). She could not yield to her love and went against her father and homeland (Sanderson 3). Jason had made an oath to marry her and take her away with him but, in the end, went against his word (Sanderson 6). Medea blamed her overwhelming passion and love on her actions (Zuger 29). Even though Medea had so much love for Jason, he was still to wed the King’s daughter (Sanderson 6). In fear of Medea’s sorcery, the King intended to banish Medea and her sons from the country (Hamilton 176). Exiled from her homeland and from her family, Medea had nowhere to go (Sanderson 6). Guilty and regretful of all she had sacrificed, her outraged love and misery of her ruined life motivated her plans of destruction (Hamilton 176). Medea’s intense love for Jason turned to hatred. The meaning of love is lost to Medea as disgust and spite conquer her heart (Zuger 29). The play “Medea” blames the act of love as a result of its sorrowful end (Zuger 30).
Vengeance was Medea’s main determination (Sanderson 6). Medea wanted Jason to suffer as she suffered (Zuger 30). She plotted to take away all that Jason loved just as he had taken away her love (Zuger 30). Medea sent a poisoned robe to the princess (Sanderson 6). As the princess put it on, she was set on fire, and the King of Corinth also died as he tried to save his daughter from the flames (Hamilton 178). Medea had killed Jason’s wife-to-be (Hamilton 178). Jason and Medea loved their sons very much and even fought over whom loved them more (Zuger 29). Their sons were the products of Medea and Jason’s passion, and Medea used them for her hateful revenge (Zuger 30). Knowing Jason’s love for their sons, Medea stabbed her sons to death (Hamilton 178). She allowed all her hate and rage to overpower her love for her children (Hamilton 178). In the end, Jason was left with nothing just as Medea had planned (Zuger 31). Jason, full of sorrow and fury, attempted to kill Medea, but she fled from the roof of their home in chariot drawn by dragons (Hamilton 179). Unable to endure the loss of his bride and sons, Jason was never the same (Parada 3). Medea obtained her revenge on Jason, but there was truly no winner (Zuger 31). The play “Medea” has a transformation of moods from love to hate and then too vengeful anger (Zuger 30).
Euripides successfully portrays the character Medea as the victim of wrongdoing and the doer of deep wrong (Blaiklock 236). In the beginning of the play, the audience is led to feel sympathy and compassion for Medea (Blaiklock 236). She had done so much for her husband’s sake (Gill 2). Medea had saved Jason’s life, retrieved the Golden Fleece, betrayed her family and homeland, and bore him two sons (Gill 2). In return, Medea was wrongfully hurt and betrayed by Jason (Blaiklock 236). After this time, the audience is shown another side of Medea (Blaiklock 236). Euripides presents how betrayal can lead to mutual treachery (Blaiklock 236). With confusion and despair, Medea did what she had to overcome her sense of powerlessness (Gill 2). She had loved Jason so unconditionally yet uses it for her revenge (Zuger 30). Her pride and honor were destroyed by Jason and left her with only the determination of vengeance (Zuger 30). Even though Medea loved her children, she knew taking their lives was the only way to get back at Jason for all the pain he has caused (Sanderson 6). Medea, too, suffered from the loss of her children, but it gave her peace knowing Jason was also suffering (Zuger 30).
In the “Quest for the Golden Fleece”, Jason was depicted as a brilliant hero (Hamilton 175). His role changed in “Medea” as he became selfish and egotistical (Gill 2). They had lived together happily for ten years, and then Jason felt he wanted to marry the daughter of the King of Corinth so that one day he would be King (Hamilton 177). Jason had made a mockery of Medea’s love (Sanderson 6). In one confrontation, Medea pled with Jason and reminded him of all that she had done for him (Sanderson 6). Jason countered that it was because of the gods that led Medea save his life (Gill 2). He fought back, and claimed he had helped her in the long run, and that she should be grateful to him (Sanderson 6). Jason twisted all of Medea’s acts of love into his own self-glory and believed “Yea, men should have begotten children from some source, no female race existing; thus would no evil ever have fallen on mankind” (Gill 2). He had broken his oaths of marriage and, as a result, lost everything (Zuger 31). Jason pushed her beyond all levels of human endurance for frustration and helplessness (Gill 1).
Euripides’ “Medea” proves how love can also be a treacherous force. Love is very powerful but, in this play, it is shown how it can be turned against oneself. Medea is the tragic hero as she overcame her defeats yet is still victimized by the loss of her love. Jason selfishly went against Medea even after all that she did for him. Arrogantly, he did not except the blame for the outcome of their lives because he felt that he was the one who had done everything for Medea. So hurt and defied, Medea became outraged with fury that all her love turned to pure evil. She loves her children very much but used them to hurt Jason by murdering them. Both Medea and Jason claim undying love for their sons but truly use them for their own needs and self-pity. Indulged in their own self worth, their idea of love is turned villainous.
Love is suppose to be good and righteous, yet in Euripides’ “Medea” it is used as evil that causes a true misfortune. In the play “Medea”, Jason never claims his love or remorse for Medea. He used her for his own self-redemption and then credits himself for his good fortune. At the beginning, Medea had so much love for Jason that she would do anything that she could for him. Medea went against her family to help Jason and fled from her homeland. Medea’s love and Jason’s betrayal lead to this play’s catastrophe. Love was the essential power that ignited Medea but, in conclusion, vengeance and hatred prevailed. This play was a true tragedy for no one proved to excel. In conclusion, the play “Medea” exhibits how evil can corrupt even the purest and most passionate forms of love.
Blaiklock, E.M. “Nautical Imagery of Euripides’ Medea.” Classical Philology. Vol. L. 1955.
Gill, N.S. “Medea.” Ancient/Classical History. 10 Apr. 2000. Education>Ancient/Classical>
Hamilton, Edith. Mythology. Little, Brown and Company, 1942.
Parada, Carlos. “Medea.” Greek Mythology Link. 10 Apr. 2000.
Sanderson, James L., and Everett Zimmerman,eds. Medea: Myth and Dramatic Form. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co, 1957.
Zuger, H. “The Aegus Episode and the Poetic Structure of Euripides Medea.” The Classical Bulletin. Vol. XLIX. 1972.
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