Euripides’ play, “Medea,” tells the story of a woman, Medea, who is betrayed by her husband, Jason. After the betrayal, Medea is sent into exile after many of those close to her begin to fear that she may kill herself. Even after Jason tries to explain to Medea his reasons for running off with a princess, and despite all of the gifts that he gives her, Medea still refuses to accept his apology. After a while, she feigns an apology of her own in attempts to get Jason to unknowingly help her murder her children.
After verbally punishing people who judge those that are quiet, stating that it goes against the learning of a person’s true character, Medea goes into a speech to her chorus about how women are destined to become the property of their husbands. The wives become possessions, are expected to endure the pain of childbirth, and are deprived of having a social life outside of the house. She goes on to say how men oftentimes divorce their wives for the mere purpose of leaving them with nothing.
The moods during these lines are those of anger and contempt. These lines are not only relevant to the plot of the story, but they sum up the plot. Medea is venting how she feels about husbands and family life, which physically shows itself as the story progresses. The lines are the main development of the story, almost a foreshadow of what is to come in the later scenes and speeches.
While Medea’s chorus dwells upon the horrible destiny that is in store for her, Medea can only think about what it is that she needs to do, which is to kill her husband, the girl that he wants to marry, as well as the girl’s father. After deciding on poisoning being the best method to murder the three, Medea looks to the aid of Goddess Hecate in the completion of the task. She claims that she wants to return honor to her own bloodline while shaming Jason’s. She finishes this speech by stating that women are naturally linked with deeds of evil.
The mood during these lines is of determination. Medea knows what she has to do, and she knows what can happen in the process, but she remains set on the task. These lines set the basic plot for the rest of the play. A large portion of the story is based on this task of murdering the three people that have thus ruined her life.
It is during these lines that Medea completes the planning involved in going through with her murders. She openly acknowledges the fact that she must kill her sons in the process, which causes her chorus to become worried. They fear that after all is said and done, Medea would not be able to cope in society. Medea shunts their worries aside, claiming that the death of Jason’s children would be the worst injury he can obtain from her, with not even the exception of ending his life.
The line that thoroughly sums this section up is when Medea says, “Yes, I can endure guilt, however horrible; the laughter of my enemies I will not endure.” The lines from the aforementioned section are dripping with revenge and care for only herself and her dignity. These lines also move the story along in the sense that they reveal even more of how Medea feels about the entire situation.
It is during these lines that Medea makes the speech that she is unsure about killing her children. She is filled with dread and remorse at her decision, trying to figure out if she is doing the right thing or not, and if it will benefit her in the end. She mentions all of the things they have done as a family, including just the simplicity of being a family. After going over the pros and cons of the situation with her chorus, she finally decides to continue with the murders as planned.
These lines are riddled with confusion. Medea is unsure about what she wants to do, yet, at the same time, is sure that it is the right thing to do. While these lines may not necessarily move the plot along, it brings the main plot into a significant light when Medea stops and reconsiders the murders that she is planning.
These are the lines in which Medea realizes what she did, killing her children, but decides it was worth the price that she had to pay – the pain that Jason gave her by betraying her, to begin with. This speech tells Jason what she did and why she did it, which only leaves Jason feeling regret for marrying or even involving himself with Medea. He is the one to point out to her that she hurt herself in the process by killing her own children, though she shrugs this off, knowing what was at stake with her plans.
These lines finalize all that had happened in the story prior. The moods in this part are triumph and carelessness on Medea’s part, but regret and despair on Jason’s. These lines are relevant and important to the story as they tell of the completion of Medea’s task.