1.Backround Information on Euripides Around 485 B.C. a man named Euripides was born in Athens, Greece. Euripides mother’s name was Cleito and his father’s name was Mnesarchus. In Athens Euripides father worked as a retailer. Euripides had two marriages that both failed. Euripides is most known for his influential Greek myths which seem to always have dark or alternative meaning. He was also an author of 90 expressive plays. For example, the play of “Medea” contains unfortunate concepts that relate in the world today by explaining unequal rights for women is wrong. Of these significant plays only 19 have survived to this day. Back then Euripides preformed in his own plays that he also directed. He performed these plays in front of 14,000 people, competing against his rivals Aeschylus and Sophocles. (Biography.com) Euripides inspiration came from teachers that used philosophy and rhetoric figures of speech. These teachers were also called sophists. Euripides used rhetorical arguments to set the play in an astonishing point of view.
To get the most stunning effect he generally used sensationalism, surprise and suspense in his writings. Euripides also based most of his themes on war, women and religion. Euripides revered women’s equal rights and explored controversies that were present in his time. His research went deep into the subjects of social, religious, political and philosophical affairs. (Encyclopedia of World Biography)
2. Time location and “Real” Functions of Setting Around 431 B.C. The play Medea takes place in Corinth, Greece. Most plays back then were set in distant countries because the audience preferred to be in another country when thinking about their problems. A more exact location in the play was the house of Medea and Jayson. The relationship between them begins strong but ends very quickly when Jason does not get what he wants. The play also expresses sympathy by showing that women are just as equal as men are and explaining Euripides’s view on inequality of sexes. The chorus also shows sympathy for Medea’s children that were disgracefully slaughtered. Euripides puts the kids into the story to lighten the mood of the dark and tragic play. (Medea Tone)
3. Major Characters Medea- Madea has fallen in love with Jayson and they have two kids. After Jayson does not get what he wants from her, he leaves her for a princess that will give him the place of being king. She becomes furious and heartbroken from the man that she previously loved. In the play, my view of her shows a caring a loving woman that turns into a hateful, cold and intimidating woman. The external conflict of her is the conflict between Jayson and her.
The internal conflict is that she believes that her pride is more important than other people’s feelings. She decides to kill Jayson’s new wife to give herself a personal resolution. In the story her foil character was the nurse because in the play the nurse is not very sympathetic and tells Madea to move on in the book. Jayson- Jayson displays a man with a goal full of perseverance to be king. Later in the story he becomes very ignorant and the reader starts to realize that he does not care about anything more than being a king. My view of this character changes from a man filled with perseverance to a self-centered boy. His External conflict is involved with Medea and the divorce between them. His internal conflict is his desire to be king in which he is very selfish. Jayson’s foil character is the Chorus because they stand up with Madea throughout the play. King Creon- This character shows a powerful man that trusts Jayson to be a suitable king.
When the king and Madea are talking he shows that he is intimidated and scared of Madea. Back then it was odd for a man to be intimidated by a woman. It showed that a man was feeble and weak. My view of King Creon changed when he said that he feared Medea which shows in that time period that he was weak. The Kings internal conflict lied with feeling guilty for the banishment of Madea and her children. The King’s external conflict was the thought of Madea hurting his son-in-law or his daughter. King Creon’s foil character would be Madea’s children that give an innocent role to the play. King Creon plays a more serious part in the play by being guilty of banishing Madea and her kids’.
4. List All Other Participating Characters Nurse- She is the character that starts the play by telling the background information of Madea and Jayson. In the play the Nurse relates to Madea by being there for the kids. Her significance in the play is shown when she is having a conversation with the tutor and explains the background information. Tutor- The mentor comes into play when talking to the Nurse about the exposition and background information. She connects to the children in the play by being their Tutor for school. The significance of this character is when she makes conversation with the nurse to describes the setting. Chorus- The group introduce themselves after they hear an un happy woman crying from Colchis.
They relate to Madea by being at her side throughout the play by going with all the decisions that she Makes. The Chorus plays a big part to show the true empathy that Euripides wants the audience to experience. King Aegeus- The King was introduced into the story when he starts talking to Medea about her unhappiness. The King shows empathy toward her and lets her take shelter if only she bares his children. The king is important for her So, if she needs she can take shelter if needed. Messenger- she is introduced when Madea has killed The Princess and her father King Creon. The messenger relates to Madea by telling her the bad news. So now she can escape Corinth before anyone catches her. The messenger is important so that she knows when it’s time for her to leave Corinth. Madea’s Two Children- The children are introduced after the nurse asks them to go inside the nurse explains the terrible things that their father has done to them. The children are the sons of Madea and Jayson. The children’s significance is big because they show an innocence in the tragic play of Madea.
5. Explain the differences between Greek and modern tragedy In our society a tragedy could be a fatal car accident or a land slide that has killed people. But does anyone reflect on the tragic situation? Long ago in Greek plays they wanted the audience to reflect on the tragedy. The play was made for the audience to think by giving the audience questions like, “what would you do in a situation like this?”. This was used to pull the audience into the play and experience the situation for themselves. Instead today we just have tragedies where almost no one looks back to reflect.
6. Each Type of Irony Dramatic Irony- “You can hardly in one day accomplish what I am afraid of in one day” (Creon 28). King Creon is oblivious for underestimating Madea. The audience knows that Madea is powerful and capable of a lot. The king does not realize the potential of Madea’s destruction.
Verbal Irony- “born women—useless for honest purposes” (Madea 29). Madea pretends to make herself weak and seem as though women are nothing by using pathos. Madea honestly thinks highly of women and believes they are as equal to men. Situational irony- In the play, Madea is talking to the king about her banishment. She uses logos and ethos, but the king does not care and will not change his mind. Then Madea uses pathos to show the king the troubles she will go through. “Show some pity: you are a father too, you should feel kindly towards them. For myself, exile is nothing. I weep for them; their fate is very hard” (Madea 27). After she uses her children to persuade the king, he changes his mind and gives them one more day to stay to make provisions for their banishment.
7. Reflection of the authors purpose Euripides purpose in the book was to show the reader that inequality between sexes is wrong. Euripides believed strongly about the equality between men and women. In the book Euripides portrays Madea as a hero. Back then it was unheard of for women to be the hero of a story because men thought that women were northing. Euripides portrays Madea the as the hero by giving her the final resolution.
8. Copy and Cite Two Significant passages “To learnt to live on the common level is better. No grand life for me, just peace and quiet as I grow old. The middle way, neither great nor mean, is best by far, in name and practice. To be rich and powerful brings no blessing; only more utterly is the prosperous house destroyed when the gods are angry” (Nurse 21). The Nurse explains why she would neither be rich nor poor. She wants to live the common life and be left alone with no problems as she gets older. The Nurse also believes that if she is not rich, she will not be as accountable for a mistake as much as one who is rich. She does not believe in the blessing of being powerful. “I’m no tyrant by nature. My soft heart has often betray me; and I know its foolish of me now; yet none the less, Medea, you shall have what you ask. But take this warning: if tomorrow’s holy sun finds you or them inside my boundaries, you die. That is my solemn word. Now stay here, if you must, this one day. You can hardly in one day accomplish what I am afraid of” (Creon 29). In this passage King Creon explains how his sympathy usually misleads him into a mistake. But he grants Madea’s request to stay inside the boundaries of Corinth for one last day. King Creon says that he will kill her if she is seen tomorrow. What King Creon does not realize is how intelligent Madea is and under estimates what she is capable of in one day.
9. Topic – Theme – Thesis – WAAW The main topic in Madea is revenge. Revenge is the irrational theory that leads to impulsive decisions which a person can later regret. Revenge is a difficult concept because of the consequences that follow in the end. If a person gets hit at school, the person that got hit may want revenge. But the consequences can soon follow. In the book, revenge takes over Madea and causes the death of her kids and endless pain. But Madea decides to kill her children to get revenge on Jayson for what he has done to her. Another example was the death of Jayson’s second wife, Madea decides to give the princess a dress and coronet that has poison on it. These examples show how revenge can affect a person’s decisions and the consequences that may fallow.
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