A Gathering of Old Men

A Friendly Enemy

"Death is my wish for myself, my enemies, my children" (Euripedes translated by Robinson Jeffers, Medea 11). Medea is hungry for death. She wants to taste it on her lips and wishes others to do the same. The value which Medea gives death is to use it as a weapon against her enemies. On the other hand, the women and the nurse fear death. Death,to the women and to the nurse is something that should not be wished for. "O shining sky, divine earth,
Harken not to the song that this woman sings" (13). One of the Greek women says this, for Medea is screaming out that she would like to die. The women and the nurse hear Medea wishing for death as if it were a treasure or something valuable. The nurse and women are not in agreement with Medea?s view of death. To them, death would be something that lurks around anything and anywhere waiting to strike. "He strikes from the clear sky like a hawk, he hides behind green leaves, or he waits around the corner of a wall"(12). To a Greek woman death is personified as a hunter or killer. She uses an animal, the hawk,to compare to death. A hawk is a swift predator that attacks unnoticed, but to Medea death is a trophy. For Medea death has a value of importance. A friendship has been established. Death is Medea?s friend. She uses it as a weapon to get what she views as justice. "Then if you have a dog eyed enemy and needed absolute vengeance . . . Unchild him, ha? And then unlife him"(23). Medea believed with great depth to get vengeance upon Jason. She wanted to go through with her vengeance and hurt Jason as Jason hurt her. Jason left Medea for another woman thus leaving her miserable and craving for revenge. Thus, she went on taking the life of his bride-to-be and the life of their children. She also wanted to wash herself from the impurities of Jason?s touch. "Ah, rotten, rotten, rotten: death is the only water to wash this dirt" (12). This is a metaphor for she compares death to a water, which is a symbol of pureness, to cleanse herself. The nurse and women have almost pleaded to Medea not to even think about death, but because of her resentment and hate towards Jason she is deaf to the women?s advice.The importance given to death by Medea is rejected by the women. Death would only make things worse in the women?s eyes. To Medea everything will be put in place and "justice" would be served. The feelings towards death among the women and Medea personified death. Death was an enemy to the women, yet a "friend" to Medea. Death was valued as a weapon of revenge by Medea and viewed as a weapon of destruction to the women. Life is more precious to the women but Medea does not think of life as precious. She is being selfish only thinking about her friend death to reach her goal; revenge.