Medea: Guilty as Charged
Men of Corinth, I am here today to confirm who is solely responsible for the death of four innocent victims. Medea. She mischievously murdered the king and his daughter, then proceeded to brutally violate the little bodies of her own children. Some of you may argue that outside factors coerced her to act irrationally. She wants you to believe that pain and suffering caused by Jason s disloyalty drove her mad enough to act out so rashly. However, her selfishness compelled her to plot and carry out these horrible deeds; Jason and others only tried to help her, but she denied their generosity.
Those of you who blame Jason for provoking Medea s eccentric behavior must realize he is another victim. Jason has acted righteously and did not contribute to the tragic deaths we speak of today. He has always tried to help Medea. Soon after they met, he relieved her of a wretched, barbarian life and introduced her to our great Greek land, teaching her how to live by law instead of the sweet will of force (line 538). When he arrived in Corinth, he further extended his generosity. An opportunity arose to preserve Medea and breed a royal progeny to be brothers to his children by marrying the daughter of our great king Creon (595-7). Medea refused to accept all that Jason offered and labeled him disloyal for seeking another wife. However, our great society allows men to pursue other relationships when they grow tired of their current companion. Therefore, Jason did not act beyond his given rights. He actually showed Medea additional loyalty when he went out of his way to ensure her well-being by calling on the gods to witness that he wished to help her and the children in every way (619-20). Medea responded selfishly. Her heart on fire with passionate love for Jason (8) morphed into a burning rage of jealousy. She did not return Jason s favors but instead destroyed him, leaving him childless.
Many people fear Medea and see her as a beast. We all know that she stops at nothing to get what she wants. She betrayed her father and native land, then slew her own brother to pursue a life of pleasure. Consequently, King Creon sensed that she would bring harm to Corinth. He disclosed to her,
You are a clever woman, versed in evils arts,
And are angry at having lost your husband s love.
I hear that you are threatening, so they tell me,
To do something against my daughter and Jason
And me, too. I shall take my precautions first.
I tell you, I prefer to earn your hatred now
Than to be soft-hearted and afterward regret it (285-91).
We all know his fears were justified, and it is obvious that he would have been right to ban her from Corinth instantly. However, as a merciful king, he granted her stay one more day. Medea took advantage of this generosity and soon after began scheming the frightful events that have brought us here to trial.
Some Corinthian women heard Medea conjure up these plans:
by a trick I may kill the king s daughter.
For I will send the children with gifts in their hands
To carry to the bride, so as not to be banished-
A finely woven dress and a golden diadem.
And if she takes them and wears them upon her skin
She and all who touch the girl will die in agony;
Such a poison will I lay upon the gifts I send.
those children [Jason] had from me he will never
See alive again, nor will he on his new bride
Beget another child, for she is to be forced
To die a most terrible death by these my poisons (783-806)
Immediately, they tried to convince her not to follow through, but she was already set in her evil ways. The women and the nurse both recalled past accounts of hearing Medea wish for death as if it were superior to life (146-7). They tried to reason with her by explaining that [the] final end of death comes fast. No need to pray for that (153-4). She ignored their rational then, and later she ignored their pleas to spare the lives of the king, his daughter, and her own children. It is clearly evident from these testimonies that Medea not only committed the brutal murders, but she hungered for death in advance, planning and strategizing her sinful deeds ahead of time.
I hesitate in reminding you of the painful events revealed by the messenger about all of the suffering incurred by Medea's wretched poison, but I find it important to emphasize how much Medea enjoyed hearing the gory details. She was delighted to know how the king and his daughter had died and even more so to learn they had died in agony (1134-5). What kind of woman finds pleasure in this? Only a woman guilty of such heinous crimes, only a woman who next turned against her own blood could enjoys these things.
We can never forget the helpless cries of the children,
What can I do and how escape my mother s hands?
Oh my dear brother, I cannot tell. We are lost.
O help us, in God s name, for now we need your help.
Now, now we are close to it. We are trapped by the sword (1273-8).
The Corinthian women who testified hearing this as Medea lashed out behind closed doors can only imagine the physical torture she incurred. The children s outbursts alone were enough to make these witnesses shutter, but unfortunately they could not help. Medea had finished the deed, showing no remorse as they pleaded for their young lives. This is concrete evidence that Medea, not Jason, physically slaughtered her children.
Medea is ultimately responsible for her actions. Her own self-interest drove her to kill, but she blames others and searches for pity in her defense. Who could pity such an awful monster ? (1342) She is guilty of preconceived murder of our merciful king, his lovely daughter, and Jason s two innocent children. These are the worst of crimes. Nothing justifies taking innocent blood, especially that of your own. Medea must suffer the dire consequences. Men of Corinth, I ask of you to send this beast back to the hell she came from, back to her barbarian life.