Desire and character in Medea

Essay by bialystokchickA-, February 2005

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At the outset, Medea is portrayed as a disheartened woman betrayed by her husband in the pursuit of another lover. She is observed to be a woman of extreme emotion and one of great devotion to her family, and above all her husband. Her character, which is seemingly that of a very peaceful and rational spirit, abruptly shifts to develop into an intemperate heart with the definite goal of destruction in mind. Instead of choosing a path involving that of mercy and reason, Medea allows for her passion; her desire for true love's revenge, to overpower the original subtle portion of her character. Her aspirations to become a respected and cherished women in a Greek society that was based to function on injustices such as the subordination of women, stands out as a struggle of a woman that has suffered an oppressive life. However, along her lustful path of revenge, the one person she is hurting most is but herself.

Along her quest towards the reclamation of vengeance of a broken heart, she not only kills her husband's new lover and her father, but also kills her own blood; her children, claiming that by doing so she will be protecting them from an even crueler counter-revenge by her enemies. However, as her rage for revenge steadily develops into an uncontrollable insanity, her quest begins to be observed as a damned path for Medea; filled with remorse, sorrow, and grief.