The tragic play Medea, originally written by Euripides then later translated by Philip Vellacott, describes the intense love that Medea expresses towards Jason, a prince on a quest for the Golden Fleece. In an attempt to become closer to the throne, Jason marries Medea, and they parent two children together. However, Jason divorces Medea and marries a young princess. Many themes present themselves throughout this tragic play, but three offer the strongest topics of discussion; one, the greatest people fall the greatest distances, two, great people cannot control their emotions, therefore, they strike back with extreme violence, and three, excessive love leads to an inevitable misfortune.
First, Euripides describes how the greatest, most renowned, people fall to a doom of immeasurable pain and suffering; moreover, he uses Medea as his ideal example. Medea prepares to slaughter her two sons: "My accursed hand, come, take the sword; take it and forward to your frontier of despair" (Vellacott 55). Medea arrives at her lowest point and degrades herself to the level of a malicious murderer. Another example that Euripides uses to describe this theme portrays itself when Creon?s sympathy goes out toward Medea: "My soft heart has betrayed me" (Vellacott 27). Creon reveals that his persona of being a cruel, powerful king covers the truth of his sympathetic, sensitive feelings towards his acquaintances. Euripides successfully weaves this theme into the epic play.
Secondly, the next important theme found in the story illustrates how the greatest people cannot control their emotions and ultimately react with intense violence. Jason discusses Medea?s uncontrollable rage: "Fatal results follow from [her] ungoverned rage" (Vellacott 36). Medea?s irrational actions will almost certainly lead to the death of one of her loved ones; ultimately, her actions prove to be fatal for her children. Medea plans to settle her quarrels by murdering her children; the children scream in terror: "Help, help, for the gods? sake! She is killing us! We can?t escape from her sword" (Vellacott 56). Because she behaves irrationally, Medea kills her two beloved sons. Once again, Euripides utilizes important occurrences to portray an important theme.
Next, Euripides details how an excessive love leads to horrible misfortune. Both Jason and Medea love their two children, thus, they both face hardships when the boys die. Medea speaks of the inevitable parting with her sons: "What make me cry with pain is the next thing I have to do. I will kill my sons. No one shall take my children from me" (Vellacott 41). Medea explains how Jason?s extreme love for his children will push her to murder them. Also, Jason expresses his emotions when he discovers his two boys and his new wife are dead: "Leave me to mourn over my destiny: I have lost my young bride; I have lost my two sons I begot and brought up; I shall never see them alive again" (Vellacott 58). Jason?s extreme love for his children and bride will ultimately aid in his downfall. Euripides clearly demonstrates this theme through the pain of Medea and Jason.
In conclusion, Euripides successfully incorporates the three extremely important themes into the play. Through the use of these three themes, Euripides illustrates the thoughts and feelings of most of the people who were alive during the era in which the play was written. He details the greatness of Medea and Jason to intensify their downfall. Euripides demonstrates these themes with excellence and proves that he deserves the recognition of being one of the greatest play writers of all time.