- Medea, daughter of Aeetes, King of Colchis, granddaughter
of the sun-god Helios, neice of the witch-goddess Circe.
- Jason, exiled prince of Iolcas
- Creon, King of Corinth
- Aegeus, King of Athens
- Female empowerment / oppression
Jason and the Argonauts: the Quest for the Golden Fleece
- Jason's throne had been usurped by his uncle, Pelias.
- Pelias sent Jason on a quest to retrieve the Golden
Fleece in order to achieve the throne. This was meant to be an impossible,
- AeŽtes, King of Colchis, (Medea's father) possessed the
- AeŽtes promised the give the Golden Fleece to Jason if he
could complete three tasks. Medea, who had fallen instantly in love
with Jason, used her witchcraft to help him survive the tasks in return for
his promise to marry her.
- Yoke fire-breathing oxen and plough a field with them
... Medea gave Jason a fire-proof unguent with which to cover himself
and his weapons.
- Sow the field with the teeth of a dragon, which
instantly sprouted into a hostile group of armed men ... Medea had
forewarned Jason and told him to throw a rock into their midst; the men,
who were rather stupid, assumed one of their number had thrown the rock,
and they killed each another.
- Kill the dragon which guards the Fleece ... Medea
provided a sleeping potion for the dragon.
- Medea and Jason flee with the fleece.
- Medea kills and dismembers her own brother, tossing
pieces of his corpse overboard, to slow her father's pursuit and achieve
Medea murders Pelias, kind of...
- Pelias had refused to give up the throne.
- Medea demonstrated her youth restoring and resurrection
skills to Pelias' three daughters, by killing, dismembering, and boiling and
old ram in a cauldron with her special potion. The ram leapt from the
cauldron as a young ram.
- Medea then urged Pelias' daughters to kill and dismember
their aging father so that he could undergo the rejuvenating process. Medea
failed (on purpose) to add the the magic herbs to the cauldron, thus
producing Pelias soup.
- Medea and Jason had to flee Iolcas.
Refugees in Corinth
- Medea and Jason have two sons.
- Jason abandons Medea for King Creon's daughter.
- Wife, mother, nurturer ... in this role she is a victim
- Barbarian princess, witch ... certain people try to victimize her
because she is an Other, but she is simply too powerful for them to
- honorable, fearful of ridicule, determined to defend her honor ...
it is this role that Medea triumphs
Medea's Friends and Protectors
- The Chorus of Women (Corinthian women)
- Her BFF's support Medea, lamenting Jason's
mistreatment of her; they believe she is justified in her plan to kill
Jason and his new wife; they are distressed, however, when she decides
to kill her children; one of their final comments is that it is better
for women to go childless.
- Aegeus, King of Athens
- Offers Medea a safe haven in Athens and ultimately
- Helios, her grandfather
- He aids Medea's escape by sending a golden, flying
chariot to spirit her away.
- Zeus, King of the gods
- As the god of oaths, Zeus is supportive of Medea's
plans for revenge.
Is Jason a hero?
Is Medea a tragic hero?
Do you find Medea sympathetic or reprehensible?
Sophocles said that
Euripides drew men as they are, not as they ought to be. Is that true?
What are Medea's ethical and moral concerns?
Why does Medea kill her sons?