Study Questions for Medea
Please answer the following
questions on a separate sheet of paper using specific evidence from the play to
support your response.
- Describe Medea’s initial state of mind at the
very beginning of the play.
- Why does Creon fear Medea?
- Why is Creon no match for Medea?
- What method of murder does she decide to use and
- Compare/contrast the emotional level of Medea and
Jason throughout the episode.
- Jason refuses to accept any blame for Medea’s
exile. Instead he puts blame explicitly on Medea and implicitly
on Creon. Explain.
- How else does Jason rationalize to maintain a
sense of guiltlessness?
- Who is Aegeus and what is his relationship to
- What is the purpose of his visit to the oracle of
Apollo at Delphi?
- What is the attitude of Aegeus towards Jason’s
treatment of Medea?
- What condition does Aegeus put on Medea for
granting her asylum and why?
- Why do you think Medea makes Aegeus take an oath
that he will never retract his promise to her of protection?
- After the departure of Aegeus, upon what new form
of revenge does Medea decide? Why?
- What are her reasons for wanting to kill her
- Compare the behaviors of Medea and Jason at the
beginning of this episode.
- Why does Medea begin to weep?
- What does her weeping demonstrate about her?
- What makes the reader feel a certain amount of
pity for Jason in this episode?
- What is the purpose of Medea’s request that Jason
persuade Creon to allow the children to remain in Corinth, in light of her decision to
- This episode, rather than the murder of the
children in the exodus, is usually considered to be the climax of the
At the end of the play, Medea appears both victorious and full of glory as she is
seen above in the chariot drawn by winged dragons which the Sun, her
grandfather, has given her. This miraculous deus ex machina conclusion was criticized by
Aristotle in his Poetics: “Hence it
is clear that the denouement also should arise from the plot itself and not depend upon a mechanical contrivance, as in Medea…” There are
definitely aspects of this conclusion which are unsettling, but does this mean
that Euripides boxed his tragic heroine into a situation from which he could
find no believable solution? Analyze the denouement by answering the following
questions with specifics from the play to support your response.
- Explain how Aristotle’s assessment of the
conclusion of Medea may be correct?
- On a dramatic level, why does the deus ex machina
ending seem unsatisfactory?
- Considering that Medea
is a tragedy, why is the ending
such a surprise?
- On the surface, Medea
exits completely victorious Jason and her enemies. Beneath the surface,
however, there are indications that Medea is not
completely removed from the fate of the conventional tragic hero. Explain
how she is a tragic hero.
- How should the play have ended? Create a more