What is Euripides asserting when the chorus says Medea should not pray for death?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I think that Euripides is suggesting that unchecked revenge hurts more than the intended target.  The Chorus does not deny Medea's voice and understands her anger and her bitterness towards Jason and his new wife. Yet, the Chorus cannot stand by and support Medea when she kills her own children.  Through the Chorus, Euripides might be suggesting that justice is not vengeance.  When individuals act in a manner where justice is seen as revenge, social bonds become irreparably damaged.  Medea is hurting society through the murder of her own children.  The Chorus also acknowledges that while hurt is evident, to act in a manner where only this element is present does not provide any potential for therapeutically understanding where justice might reside.  The Chorus understands that Medea ends up becoming victim to that which she hates, enabling Jason to actually gain sympathy.  It is here where Euripedes might be suggesting that to act solely in the name of revenge is something that casts more in way of hurt than anything in the name of construction and productivity. 

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial