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EURIPIDES’ MEDEA EXERCISE FOR READING, COMPREHENSION AND INTERPRETATION 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? 4 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? 5 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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