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In  Medea by Euripedes, how does Medea's views about women affect her relationships...

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studygeek489 | Student | Honors

Posted April 11, 2013 at 11:14 PM via web

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In  Medea by Euripedes, how does Medea's views about women affect her relationships with other women in the story?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted April 13, 2013 at 11:45 AM (Answer #1)

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The original question had to be edited. I would suggest that Medea's views about women affect her relationships with other women in the narrative significantly.  Part of the challenge is that Medea's views about women are divergent.  She does not believe that women are meant to represent one particular aim.  When Medea is happy with Jason, one can presume that Medea views women as rooted in wedded, emotional bliss with their husband.  In this light, Medea views her role as matronly in how she cares for their children and the hearth.  When confronted with rejection, Medea's views about women are filled with jealous rage and indicative of the need to take action.  This rage of a "bull," as the Nurse describes, is what drives her to kill her children and destroy the home that she and Jason built.  Such complexity is a part of her character and thus places her into direct opposition with other women in the drama.  

Such divergence is brought into sharp contrast when seen with other female characters in the narrative.  The Nurse, for example, is singular in her focus.  The Nurse fears for the children.  She knows that they are not safe with Medea.  The Nurse's need to tend to the children under any circumstances is one that is in conflict with Medea's wavering commitment to them.  This collision of women's perceptions about the role of women in the personal realm finds challenge in the social and political realm, also.  The jealousy that Medea demonstrates and shows herself willing to act upon is something that the Chorus of Corinthian Women cannot condone.  While it is clear that they have contempt for Jason, they cannot embrace Medea's flouting of her social responsibility as a mother.  Like the Nurse, their focus on women is fairly singular, in comparison to Medea's.  The Chorus represents a more socially driven expectation of women.  They represent a view of women that can embrace hurt and pain done, but also one that does not act upon the intensity of emotions.  Their focus is in stark contrast to the multiplicity of motives in Medea's construction of women.

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