Medea (Seneca)

Formal Comparison of Euripides' and Seneca's Versions of 'Medea' College

Originally written by Euripides, Medea is an ancient Greek tragedy based upon the myth of Medea and Jason. After encountering Jason during his quest for the Golden Fleece, Medea falls in love and abandons her homeland to help him throughout his journey with her sorceress powers. The two become lovers and are sentenced to exile in Iolcus, eventually seeking asylum in Corinth. Their relationship suffers when Jason is unable to remain faithful to Medea in their marriage, thus causing her to seek revenge on him in unthinkable ways. Seneca’s Medea is the other one of two surviving ancient versions of this tragedy and contains stark differences to Euripides’ version although maintaining a similar plot. Euripides and Seneca each offer a unique interpretation of Medea’s process of plotting her revenge against Jason. This is best shown through Medea’s behavior at the beginning, her plea to King Creon of Corinth, and her disturbing decision to kill her children in both plays.

In Euripides’ Medea, Medea is portrayed as a devoted wife that is wronged by her husband Jason and so, in the act of retaliation, causes the deaths of his new bride, his father-in-law, and her own two children. However, her exact plans for revenge are not quite...

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