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Essential Facts Themes of the Play 1Why does Medea kill her children 1Jason has betrayed her 2Vengeance to leave him childless in old age 3Failed heroism 2Revenge-drama 1Medea gravely wronged by Jason 1Jason a non-citizen and exile offered opportunity to marry princess of Corinth inherit throne 2Medea regarded as concubine and her children reduced to dependents of Jasons children by princess 3Violation of oaths to gods 2Situation of woman thinking rashly 1Need to avenge herself according to male code of honor to harm enemies and help friends 2Womans friends--her husband and children--become enemies Perversion of code Medea ex machina 1Appearance of sun-chariot at end of play 1Motivated by kin relationship 2Obviates need to kill children for any other reason but vengeance on Jason 3Moral irrationality of Euripi dean universe 2Medeas transcendence of human limitations 1Emblems of earth-goddess dragon chariot 2Power of prophecy 3Institution of rites for children 3Transcending female nature--denial of maternity Medea as Archetype of Child-Murderess 1Original myth Corinthians kill children in retribution for death of Creon Crossing of Gender Boundaries 1Medea as female 1Incorporates forces of chaos 2Represents the non-human and non-Greek 2Medea as male 1Successfully avenges slighted honor 2Punishes breaker of oaths and so acts as agent of divine justice--classic patriarchal role 3Contrast with Penelopes failure to protect household why does Penelope fail in the masculine role and Medea succeed 4Gender power dominance vs submission Medea was a devotee of the goddess Hecate and one of the great sorceresses of the ancient world She was the daughter of King Aeetes of Colchis and the granddaughter of Helios the sun god King Aeetes most valuable possession was a golden rams fleece When Jason and the crew of the Argo arrived at Colchis seeking the
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