How does Euripides position the audience to sympathize with Medea?

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Medea opens with a highly partial description of the circumstances from the nurse. She says that Jason has betrayed both Medea and his children and that Medea has reminded him of his promises to no avail. Now she lies wasting away in tears because of her husband’s cruel mistreatment.

Medea then puts her case directly to the women of Corinth. She says that the man who was all the world to her has turned out to be a villain and solicits their sympathy on the basis that they too may have been mistreated in marriage. The chorus promises that they will not prevent her from taking a just revenge.

Following this address, Medea has three male visitors, Creon, Jason and Aegeus, each of whom adds to the sympathy we have for her. Creon seems craven and harsh in his manner and in his banishment of the wronged woman. Aegeus (who is, of course, Athenian, like the audience) is the only man in the play who listens to Medea and treats her with respect. The most sympathy, however, is created by the...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 979 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on November 19, 2019
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