“We women are the most unfortunate creatures,” Medea states in her lecture to the women of Corinth. During the time of Euripides, women were not of high stature or power in their societies. They were traditionally confined to the roles of housekeeper, mother, mistress, wife, etc. Medea is ahead of her time; she is not defenseless and weak, in fact she proves herself to be quite powerful and revolutionary.
She is able to cleverly manipulate Jason, the women of Corinth, Aegeus, and Creon by using their inability to for see consequences, appealing to their passions, and then leaving them in a helpless position in the end. Medea defies the confinements of being a woman, and takes control of her fate by gaining revenge towards Jason, who caused her great heartache. So, in some ways one might say Medea evokes feminine pride in the women of her time.
However, this story can also present a negative image towards women by portraying them as emotional creatures that are incapable of making logical decisions. In the beginning, the Nurse explains the conflict and introduces Medea’s central motivation throughout the story: “Her heart on fire with passionate love for Jason. ” The use of these emotional words “heart,” “fire”, and “passionate love” tells the audience that she will base many of her decisions on this emotional issue.
Also, in Jason’s justification of his decisions to Medea, he sarcastically explains why he did not tell her of his plans in advance, “And you, no doubt, would have furthered the proposal, if I had told you of it, you who even now are incapable of controlling your bitter temper. ” Even Medea, herself, points out her vulnerability when it comes to her emotions, “ I know indeed what evil I intend to do, but stronger than all my afterthoughts is my fury, fury that brings upon mortals the greatest evils. ” In conclusion, The Medea can be both empowering and degrading to women.