Medea Summary

Medea by Euripides is a play that paints the picture of the engulfing of revenge of the character Medea. The setting is in Corinth, ruled by the King named Creon.  The plot starts off with the situational dilemma of Medea where her husband Jason has gone off to marry Glauke, the daughter of the King of Corinth, hence abandoning his already existing wife Medea and two sons. The entire story is found to be revolving around the events of the characters revealed at the beginning of the play. Initially, there were a lot of struggles that Jason and Medea had to face which led to events that exiled them from Corinth. Even though it was hard, they found residence and stability in their station and had started to live properly until Jason’s recent treachery towards his wife. This had left Medea in shatters mentally to the point where she had started to resent her own existence and cursed the being of her own two children.

The nurse stationed outside the palace griefs heavily for the situation of Medea, inducing the set of emotions in the audience to find sorrow in hers and empathize with her position. After a long series of turmoil and agony filled trials, Medea was then decided to be exiled from Corinth by the King. This exile of Medea only was led by an instinctive sense of the King who foresaw how her existence may be hard for the newly-weds and thinking of the betterment of his daughter, he’d decided to banish her from the space so she is out of harm’s reach. However, this did not stop Medea’s revenge from boiling to the brims. She had been so drowned in revenge that she had made up her mind to fulfill her desire with their blood. However, the problem now stood as her being displaced from Corinth which she needed to sort out for her plans and plots to forward.

Medea, being notified of the exile, pleads for mercy and begs for one day so she could arrange a place for them to station after. This was, beyond the king’s knowledge, Medea’s first step to planning the plot for revenge. She had asked for an extra day so she could put her sons in a safe place and also think about the plot that could serve her the most satisfying revenge. Her thinking for justice and taking the law into her own hands led her to the plans of mass murder. The homicide was planned out to take down the King and his daughter and also Jason. Things also do not go well on a social level as Jason comes up to talk to Medea. He tells her how her choice of projecting her sorrows and hatred so publicly has led to the vile situations that she and her sons have to face. He said if she hadn’t been so vocal about her sadness, things would not have gone south for her.  This agitates Medea even further and she ends up abusing Jason and calls him spineless for even thinking his acts had been for the good of all. Jason may have married the daughter of the King in hopes that financially their family would be stable but this was something Medea may have entirely failed to see, hence jumping into conclusions due to her emotional turmoil.

The luck from the Gods was definitely in favor of Medea at this time of her life. After she had been given a day to find herself a place after exile, she had been looking around for the perfect spot. Luckily and quite conveniently, The King of Athens named Aegeus had been passing by the city of Corinth. He had been traveling around in search of a cure for his sterility and had been open to any knowledge that may have prevailed regarding this on other foreign lands. Athens is known to be a haven of safety, Medea talks to the King Of Athens and persuades him to grant her a place to stay in his kingdom. She had made a deal that if he does so, she would give him the cure of sterility which he had been searching for. Aegeus, satisfied by the decree of exchanges, agreed to her demands and decides to give her a place to stay. Medea of course, had not disclosed the fact that she had been on a round for bloodthirst and that the place was needed for her so she could have refuge there with her two sons. With everything set in place for her plans to fall into place, Medea now lays out the rest of the plot for her revenge.

In order to gain some trust and repair her image amongst the public, Medea plays out an act. She goes up to Jason and begins to show sympathy and affection towards Jason and his decision of marrying the daughter of the King. Medea informs Jason that she no longer held any grudges against him and Glauke and that she was understanding of the whole situation from his end. She tells him he did the right thing and that she understands his stance. She further goes on by giving Jason ideas of gifts that he could give Glauke that would make her happy. Medea then gets a gown for Jason to give to Glauke. Shocked but extremely touched by Medea’s gesture and kindness, he accepts the gift. Jason becomes extremely happy that were no hard feelings left in Medea and that everything was seemingly fine from her end as well. Medea, while giving the gifts to Jason, asks for one more favor. She asked him if he could let the two sons live with him in the castle. Pleasantly astonished, Jason agrees to the demand and happily takes in the two sons. This part of the event was uncalled for as initially, Medea had planned out a place where she wanted to keep the two boys and herself safe after the homicide had commenced. However, this turn of events was uncalled for and she had let her two sons go with Jason to live in the castle.

The gifts that Medea had presented Jason to hand down to Glauke were a coronet and dress. She’d wanted him to give it to her so that Glauke becomes happy with him. However, what Jason was unaware of was the fact that both the coronet and dress were cursed. Jason had presented the dress and coronet to Glauke which she had immensely loved and wanted to readily try it out. Upon wearing the dress, the princess experiences the ultimate and probably the last shock of her life. As soon as the dress touched the skin of her body, it incinerated. Glauke’s flesh melted and boiled and pulled off of her bones. Medea had taken her first revenge on the second woman of her husband, responsible for taking him away and wrecking her home. Seeing this havoc wreaked onto Glauke and feeling the overwhelming sorrow that folded, The King, without even thinking, jumped on the fire-caught body to extinguish it. Of course, at the moment, not much thought was put into the act as a father who had been seeing his daughter die away in front of his own eyes, he had not realized that fire could spread through human contact and the most daunting can be only expected next. The king, in attempts to save his daughter also gets caught in the fire and also burned to death.

A messenger then goes to Medea and tells her about the horrid murders that she had caused. All the details of their death had no emotional impact on her as she was too engulfed with revenge and the hunger for justice for herself. But her revenge was far from over as Jason still lived and she had prepared a grand finale to leave him mentally paralyzed for the rest of his life. She had decided to take away the things that were dearest to Jason in order to make him feel her agony. First, the daughter who he had married and hoped to live a normal and well life with and now, the two sons. The mother instincts, of course, had kicked many times with the thought since they were her kids as equally as Jason’s. But in time, the hunger for revenge had killed the human in her along with the mother who’d once cared for her children dearly and felt nothing but vengeance which she needed to get herself. In the final act, she kills both of her sons, impaling them with a sword through their hearts in front of Jason, who was devastated and lost mentally and emotionally after having lost so much in one day. Upon Jason’s request of leaving the kid’s bodies for burial, Medea refuses to do so. She does not let a single ounce of closure to come to Jason as she deemed him to be unworthy of any sympathy and hence, leaves with the corpses of their two sons.