Seneca’s Medea and the Divine: A Call for Support in a Time of Foreign Hatred College

In a last, desperate attempt to gain support and exercise free will in a society that condemns her, Seneca’s Medea calls on the gods for help. Medea finds herself in a country with an oppressive government that despises foreigners, and her foreign identity makes her a target for hateful remarks from the chorus. They lament international travel and ask “what did [Jason’s voyage] gain? // A fleece of gold // and a fruit of evil” (363-364), and say that “No one has lost much // following the known road” (602-603). They share isolationist views and believe that the first international sailor was “far too audacious” (301), and that people should stay in their native countries and not explore the rest of the world. When discussing Jason’s marriage to Creusa, the chorus remarks that they “consign to silence // and darkness // any woman who runs from home, wedding-veiled for // an alien husband” (l113-115). Their hatred of immigrants extends into a hatred of Medea; not only do they see her as an evil witch, they specifically say that they wish she had stayed in her home country. The chorus is composed of the Corinthian people, and so their opinions represent the overall feelings of those people. When the entire population of Corus has...

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