Medea and Electra Sixth Episode: The Messenger Questions and Answers

Euripides

Sixth Episode: The Messenger Questions and Answers

Study Questions
1. What causes the Messenger’s haste from the palace?

2. How does Medea initially respond to the news that Creon and the princess are dead?

3. Why does Medea exhort the Messenger to tell his tale slowly?

4. To whom does the Messenger compare the princess, when he speaks of the honor he and the other servants pay her?

5. According to the Messenger, how did the princess first react upon seeing Medea’s children?

6. What made the princess change her mind?

7. How much time elapsed between the bestowal of the gifts and the death of the princess?

8. How did Creon die?

9. To what does the Messenger compare human life, after he has completed his tale?

10. How does the Chorus judge the way the gods have treated Jason?

Answers
1. The fact and manner of the two deaths have necessitated Medea’s immediate escape, and he wishes to warn her.

2. She calls it a beautiful message, and promises to regard the Messenger forever as her benefactor and friend.

3. She says it will give her twice as much delight to hear that the pair died horribly.

4. The Messenger says the servants honor the princess as they once honored Medea.

5. She turned her face away, in anger and disgust.

6. She was softened by Jason’s appeal on their behalf, and by the incomparable beauty of the gifts.

7. The poison began to take effect almost immediately, but the suffering ocurred over “long, long moments.” In Greek tragedy, staged time almost always proceeds continuously, so the ordeal of the princess and Creon would have occurred during the previous episode, while Medea was debating over her plans.

8. Upon seeing what had become of his daughter, Creon threw himself on her body, thus exposing himself to the deadly poison as well. He was literally skinned alive.

9. The Messenger says human life is “nothing but a shadow,” and anyone who thinks mortals can find happiness in it is wrong.

10. They maintain his punishment was deserved.