The characters of Euripides’ play Medea require to be viewed from a variety of perspectives. To say that the only characters that deserve the audience’s sympathy are the children is not totally correct. As far as the plot is concerned the children are no doubt the innocent victims of this conflict between Medea and Jason, however there are other characters that also deserve our sympathy. Also to vaguely state that ‘everyone else gets what they deserve’ requires further analysis of the extent to which their ultimate fate is justified.
Some critics say that Medea is a mad woman driven by her lack of control of her emotions. Throughout the play this description of her had proven to be true, however this does not mean we do not feel at all sympathetic towards her. If the audience can look at the world through her perspective, then it would not be surprising to see why she is so uncontrollably driven by her fury and passion. As a foreign princess, a wife, a mother and a woman, the humiliation and pain that had been bought upon her is all too overwhelming. ‘She will not eat; she lies collapsed in agony, dissolving the long hours in tears.’ The pain and suffering that Medea experienced deserve the audience’s sympathy.
Another source of sympathy that we should feel for Medea comes from her role as a mother. As she decides to kill her own children, her mind becomes torn apart by inner conflict as a mother and as the emotion driven beast. There are many evidence throughout the play that shows her sense of maternal devotion. ‘That you once loved them, that of your body they were born. For one short day forget your children; afterwards weep: though you kill them, they were your beloved sons. Life has been cruel to me.’ From the above quote, the audience is able to see that Medea is not completely cold blooded. Her love towards her children and the inevitable pain of killing them with her bare hands is somewhat tragic and in deserving of sympathy.
At the conclusion of the play I would disagree that all the characters deserved the ending they were given. Firstly one has to define and clarify the meaning of justice and justify the extent to which justice was served out to each character. King Creon and his daughter Glauce have committed no crime and yet they die the most horrendous deaths.
It can be concluded that we may not only feel sympathetic towards the children, but also towards Medea for all the misfortunes and tragic events that happen to her. We should also feel sympathetic towards her because of her role as a loving mother. We are shown that justice is not served out to those who most deserve it, and that harsh ends come to those who are innocent, hence the world of Medea and her rampage of revenge.
Courtney from Study Moose
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