Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 236
Euripides's Phaedra and Jean Racine's seventeenth-century version of it, Phedre, portray a woman who immorally falls in love with her step-son and in retaliation against his rebuff claims that he tried to dishonor her. The works examine similar moral ground to that examined in Medea.
Toni Morrison's moving novel Beloved (1987) revolves around a historical incident of infanticide performed by a slave mother who is moved to this tragic act by the horrors of slavery—she murders her child to remove it from the life of toil, shame, and pain that she has led. Her act haunts characters through several generations of her family.
In Shakespeare's Macbeth (c. 1605) Lady Macbeth pushes her husband to commit murder and then goes mad from the guilty thoughts that plague her. Indirectly, her ambition is responsible for a series of murders, including some innocent children, that Macbeth commissions in his vain efforts to obscure their crime.
George Eliot's Adam Bede (1859) centers on the relationship between Adam Bede and Hetty Sorrel, who becomes pregnant by a local nobleman and abandons her baby to die.
The Lion in Winter, a 1968 film directed by Anthony Harvey and starring Katherine Hepburn as the powerful Eleanor of Acquitaine, concerns the tense interplay between her and Henry II as he chooses between her and his lover's brother for a successor to the throne. Eleanor and Henry's three sons side with her in rebelling against the unfaithful king.