Literature/ Medea term paper 19571

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Medea: Guilty as Charged

I am here today to confirm who is solely responsible for the death of four innocent

victims. Medea. She shrewdly murdered the king and his daughter, then proceeded to brutally

violate the little bodies of her own children. Some people may argue that outside factors coerced

her to act irrationally. She wants all citizens 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 people who blame Jason for provoking Medea s insane behavior must realize he is

another victim. Jason has acted righteously and did not contribute to the tragic deaths we speak

of today. In a patriarchal society such as ours, a man is supposed to provide the best life for his

family. Jason wanted the best for his children by marring the king s daughter, and 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 526).

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 the great king Creon (584-6). 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 (608-09). 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 (283-89).

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 that she 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 (767-790).

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 (151-2). She ignored their reasonings, 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 (1108-09). What kind of

woman finds pleasure in this?

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 (1246-53).

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 ?

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. I ask of you to exile this

beast back to the hell she came from, back to her barbarian life.

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