In Medea's first long speech to the chorus (lines 213-261), she claims that women are afflicted with the most "wretched" existence on earth. How is gender explored in the play? Does Medea emerge as a champion of women's plight through either positive or negative example?
To what extent does Medea, protagonist of the play, fit the mold of a tragic hero?
As Medea prepares to send off her children with the crown and dress to Glauce's bed-chamber (1041-1081), she wavers five times over whether to proceed in a plan that will end with their deaths. What other evidence in the play justifies her indecision at this moment, and, conversely, what demonstrates a fixed resolve throughout?
Aristotle criticized Medea for its two illogical plot elements, the random appearance of Aegeus and Medea's escape in the chariot provided by the Sun-god. Do these events contribute anything positive to the play's themes? How do they frame the action that surrounds them?
Barring their death cries, the children remain silent throughout the play. How does Euripides handle their characters in order to supply an element of pathos to their deaths?
Euripides has been credited with bringing elements of both realism and melodrama into the art of ancient tragedy (see context). Where in Medea are these innovations evidenced?
The theme of exile is recurrent in Medea. How does exile serve as a useful metaphor for Medea's emotional states in the play? How are life and death figured as extensions of exile?
The gods are invoked sparingly in Medea, yet the chorus concludes the play by saying Zeus brings things to "surprising ends" and makes the unexpected possible (lines 14-15, 1419). Can the action of the play be entirely accounted for by the self-conscious decisions made by the characters, or do there seem to be some uncanny, fated elements to the story?
Jason is presented as a character with a heroic past, yet his actions in the play often exemplify the traits of a weak, reactive character. Medea also predicts an "unheroic death" for him at the play's close. Does anything in the play testify to Jason's background as a hero? Are we meant to sympathize with Jason at all?
The chorus at one point remarks that the most profound hate emerges out of the loss of the deepest love (lines 521-522). How does the play explore the ambivalence of violent emotions? Where does it preach against succumbing to such emotions; where, against resisting them?
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