Why is Medea seen as barbaric from the start?

Madea by Euripides

Asked by
Last updated by jill d #170087
Answers 1
Add Yours

The Other (the foreign, the exotic, the terrifying) is an essential component of adventure. Jason's quest, and all the quests of Greek heroes, would not be possible without strange and fearsome lands to visit. For Jason, Medea's Other-ness may have had something to do with her initial attractiveness. Although we cannot know if Jason was sincerely attracted to her or if he merely used her to secure his own ends, or both, it is probable that Medea's uniqueness drew Jason to her. Throughout the play, we hear again and again that Medea is different from Greek women. Jason's marriage to Medea can be seen as an attempt to bring the adventure home with him. Medea describes herself as "something he won in a foreign land" (l. 256). The marriage can be seen as Jason's attempt to subordinate the foreign to the Greek, woman to man; it is an attempt to join the struggle and danger of adventure with the return to home and stability. In Aeschylus' Oresteia, these syntheses/subordinations of seemingly opposite forces lead to order and harmony. In Medea, they lead to chaos.