EURIPIDES’ MEDEA


Prologue (1-55) - Nurse, Tutor, Medea
What is the dramatic purpose of the Nurse's speech (1-25)? What moral does the Nurse
draw from the situation (51-55)?

Parados (56-132) - Chorus, Medea and Nurse
The parados is chanted by the Chorus along with the Nurse and Medea. How does the
Chorus of Corinthian women feel toward Medea?

First Episode (133-242) - Medea, Chorus, Creon
How does Medea view her situation in Corinth (149-155)? her situation as a married
woman and mother? as a foreigner?

What request does Medea make of Creon? What appeal does she make in support of her
request (ethos, pathos, logos)? What does her use of this appeal show about Creon?
about Medea?

Medea's reference to her planning and contriving (215-216) would remind the audience
of the meaning of the name Medea 'the cunning contriver'. Her mention of her
grandfather Helius, the sun god, calls attention to her divine ancestry (226). What is
Medea's view of the female gender (228-229)?

First Stasimon (218-225—embedded in first episode in THIS translation)
What is the Chorus's reaction to the last two lines of Medea's speech (228-229)?

Second Episode (243-342) - Jason, Chorus and Medea
What had Medea done for Jason?4 What accusation does Medea make against Jason?
 Pelias, fearing because of a prophecy that Jason would bring about his death, was hostile to the hero and
had tried to bring about Jason's death by sending him on the quest for the Golden Fleece.

What is Jason's view of why Medea had helped him? According to Jason what
advantages did Medea derive from coming to Greece with him?

Second Stasimon (343-395)
What view of love does the Chorus present in the first stanza?
Third Episode (395-458) - Aegeus, Medea and Chorus
What does Medea offer to do in return for Aegeus if he shelters her in Athens? By whom
does Medea make Aegeus swear? Why?

What will Medea do now with regard to Jason's intended bride? What does she plan to do
next? What will she achieve through this action? What is her motivation in this action?
Why at this point in the play has Medea decided on this form of revenge?

Third Stasimon (459-514—end of Act I)
What has occasioned this choral ode in praise of Athens? What does the Chorus
specifically praise in reference to Athens? What does the Chorus ask Medea in the second
half of the ode?

Fourth Episode (Act II 1-154) - Jason, Medea, and Chorus
Discuss the irony in this section? What does Medea want Jason to do?

Fourth Stasimon (155-174)
What does the Chorus predict for Jason's intended bride, Jason, and Medea?

Fifth Episode (174-292)
What reasons does Medea give why she should kill her children? Explain how Medea is
ambivalent with regard to what she is considering?

What is the Chorus's view of the parent-child relationship? What specific relevance do
these general comments have for the immediate situation of the play?

Fifth Stasimon (293-305)
What warning does the Chorus give to Medea (1261-1270)?

Exodos (306-end) - Jason, Chorus and Medea
What concern does Jason express upon hearing of his children's deaths5? What
assumption does Jason make about the attitude of the Sun (Helius) toward Medea's
action? Is he correct in this assumption? Explain your answer. What comment does the
Chorus make on the events of the play?
 The murder of the children by Medea seems to have been an invention of Euripides. In other versions of
the legend Medea does not murder her children. One version has Medea kill her children accidentally,
while another has them killed by the Corinthians; yet another has Creon's kinsmen kill them in revenge for
Creon's death and circulate a rumor that Medea had murdered them.

In the exodos of the play Medea appears with the bodies of her children in a chariot drawn by dragons
either on the roof of the skene or suspended from the mechane in the manner of a deus ex machina3 She
indeed acts with the power, authority and prophetic knowledge of a "god from the machine" when she
establishes a festival and ritual in honor of her dead children, reveals her plans for the future and prophesies
the death of Jason (1378-1388).

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