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How and what does Euripides' Medea teach us?

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heschultz | Honors

Posted May 20, 2012 at 8:26 PM via web

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How and what does Euripides' Medea teach us?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted May 21, 2012 at 2:12 AM (Answer #1)

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Euripides' Medea makes several points about marriage and loyalty. Relatively early in the play, Medea says:

Of all creatures that can feel and think,
we women are the worst treated things alive. (31)

Although the Athenian audience did not believe in equality for men and women, there is certainly a pragmatic lesson that an unhappy wife may wreak vengeance against the husband who mistreats her. Some members of the audience may have understood this as a warning that women should not be allowed power; others may have read it as advocating better treatment of wives.

Another important lesson is that injustice (Medea's sacrifice of her brother, Jason's jilting Medea) leads to more injustice; vengeance is never final but merely perpetuates a cycle of violence.

The method by which drama teaches is embodiment of moral precepts in character and circumstance, a form of argument by example.

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