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20090910-11 Medea (Group 5)

Page history last edited by hollid2@... 11 years ago


  For most of class today, it seemed we spent separating the “good” from the “bad”. We spent a lot of time analyzing Medea and how her actions resembled or disputed her being a “Hero”. We concluded that some of her actions were not hero like at all, for example the killing of her own children, the fact that she is a woman, and the fact that she had a very barbaric personality. While on the other hand, she demonstrated metis throughout the play and she seemed to be out for “justice” for the wrong she felt that Jason committed against her. In the first scene Medea appears to be a character who deserves our sympathy, but as the play progresses we gain a deeper insight into the motives of both Jason and Medea. Medea resents her children despite her love for them, and is willing to use them to hurt Jason. In the second conversation Medea exercises her skill of metis by poisoning gifts for the princess and using her children to get the poison to Jason's wife.  She asks Jason if the children can go with him, and avoid exile with her.  Jason agrees because he loves the children.  Medea condemns the children to death when she has them give the poisoned gifts to the princess. When the children return she kills them, claiming to do it out of love, and to save them from their enemies.  Jason returns a third time to save the children.  In this final conversation Medea confesses that she killed her children to make Jason feel pain.  We also discussed how this text is feminist:  Medea is clever and takes the initiative, as opposed to the stereotypical "worthless" woman with no agency, as Jason thought.



"He pretends not to, but he will put up with it.

An, Aigeus, I beg and beseech you, by your beard

And by your knees I am making myself your suppliant,

Have pity on me, have pity on your poor friend,

And do not let me go into exile desolate,

But receive me in your land and at your very hearth.

So may your love, with God's help, lead to the bearing

Of children, and so may you yourself die happy.

You do not know what a chance you have come on here.

I will end your childlessness, and I will make you able

To beget children. The drugs I know can do this."


     In this passage, Medea reveals several things. She is talking to Aigeus, an old friend, who is not able to have children. This passage shows some of Medea's metis. It reveals her "chemist-like" craft/technical skills in the form of the drugs she makes for Aigeus, and it also shows her cunning in using this relationship with Aigeus to plan her escape.




1) Tragedy:  A dramatic composition dealing with a serious theme, typically that of a great person destined to destruction

  •           Aristotle said tragedies should feature:
    • People in high positions
    • situations going from good to bad
    • elevated language
    • catharsis

2) Catharsis:  the purging of emotions


Comments (10)

hollid2@... said

at 12:24 am on Sep 15, 2009

i took the liberty of editing the summary because i feel like Brian doesn't want us to really summarize the play. I think he is looking for more of the specific aspects we talked about in class, not simply summarizing the reading we were supposed to do on our own for homework, agreed???

kaseyn@... said

at 12:25 am on Sep 15, 2009


Michael Cook said

at 12:30 am on Sep 15, 2009

yeah i wasn't sure how this thing works and after i wrote this i read a summary by a gir on here that was pretty bad ass, is there any way we can revert back to hers?

hollid2@... said

at 12:33 am on Sep 15, 2009

hey michael, i edited it right after you, but the "summary" and "terms" parts were both gone as soon as I started editing...know what happened to em???

hollid2@... said

at 12:46 am on Sep 15, 2009

ok, for whatever reason the Summary and Terms are both gone now (wtf???)...I don't remember what the passage was about but I can put the terms back

Michael Cook said

at 1:02 am on Sep 15, 2009

yeah i don't know. i wrote me summary before i read previous ones, when i got on here the first time i read an incomplete summary and decided to pretty much rewrite it, not knowing that better ones had already been written. I suggest we use the recently edited 930 one. i just added some passages about the greeks love for childres-it was suggested by the person who wrote the really good summary.

hollid2@... said

at 1:03 am on Sep 15, 2009

i found out how to view past revisions, so i just reposted the passage that someone else posted earlier. i also edited the summary of the passage. still dont know the page/line numbers though. if someone could add those that would help...

Michael Cook said

at 1:04 am on Sep 15, 2009

i think i just realized why its 930...

Brian Croxall said

at 12:37 pm on Sep 19, 2009

This is a good start to the assignment. I'm glad to see that you were using the comments to talk with one another about how you wanted to write the summary. And I'm also glad to see that you found how to roll back to previous versions of the notes if needs be. Finally, it looks like you might have been confused at times and looking at the other class's notes. I know that it's tricky working parallel to another class and within the same wiki (perhaps I should use Blackboard for this assignment in the future, given these problems), so please make sure that you are working on the right page (look at the title of the page, which has the date of the notes and then is followed by a dash and the time of the class).

Your definitions are good. I was glad to see you define the aspects of the Greek tragedy here, as it is something that we will return to throughout the semester and is therefore useful to have at the ready. It wouldn't have been bad for you to add "deus ex machina," but it also got defined on the previous day's notes. So it's not 100% necessary.

Your one passage is also a good choice. You manage to show us Medea's metis acting in multiple ways. You could perhaps reconnect this passage to the concept of her as a hero--at least as far as the Greeks would have normally conceived of one. But the explanation overall is well done. What I'm surprised at is that there are not more passages. You're only allowed to have three, but most of the time it will be to your benefit to include as many as possible simply because these are going to be a large part of all the exams we have throughout the semester. Reporting on the passages and why they matter is key.

Brian Croxall said

at 12:37 pm on Sep 19, 2009

Your summary is where you could do the most work. It would be much easier to read, for starters, if it were broken into paragraphs. Take the main ideas that we discussed in class (2-3 on most days) and make them plain through your organization. Second, the notes will benefit from a better copyediting. You can fix errors but also tighten your language, which will allow you to have more space to say more things or to go more in-depth on things. Third, your notes at the moment read more like a summary of the play rather than covering what we did in class. Organize your notes here not by the text itself but rather by the main topics. Fourth, I think you've misunderstood our discussion of Medea's being a woman and a barbarian. These don't make her not a hero; rather they make her a very different kind of hero than we've seen up to this point.

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