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The two Greek plays, Medea and Antigone both exhibit opening scenes that serve numerous purposes. Such as establishing loyalties, undermining assumptions on the part of the audience, foreshadowing the rest of the play, and outlining all of the issues. Medea and Antigone share many similarities in their openings.

Both plays begin with providing the audience with the history and the consequences of certain situations that the characters were involved in. It also brings the audience to the present time, in which the play occurs. This enables the audience to have a clear and refreshed image of what aspect of the legend the play emphasizes or if any alterations were made. In Medea, the nurse is the first character who enters the play and reminds the audience of the legend of the Golden Fleece, and the love between Jason and Medea, from beginning to the end. She also brings them to the present state Medea is in, which is of complete despair and depression after Jason remarried. "And she hates her children now, and feels no joy at seeing them." (Oates, 292). In Antigone, one of the purposes of the chorus is to provide history to the audience. Although, Sophocles did change the structure a little. The first to enter the play are Antigone and Ismene, who are engaging in conversation over defying the edict forbidding their brothers burial, which brings the audience to the present time. Shortly after, the chorus enters and recounts the reasons for the battle and death of Polyneices and Eteocles, brothers to Antigone and Ismene. The chorus appears every scene to serve as the voice of the culture, and counsels to the characters. "Ð'...Save those two of cruel fate, who, born of one sire and one mother, set against each other their twain conquering spears, and sharers in a common death." (Oates, 192).

While the chorus and the nurse recount the background of the story they simultaneously set the mood of the play. Their speeches are expressed with such deep emotion that the audience can't help but become involved. The nurse in Medea sets a very tense mood that remains throughout the whole play. "I fear she may contrive some untoward scheme; for her mood is dangerous nor will she brook her cruel treatment." (Oates, 292).

Another similarity these two plays share is the defiance of the traditional role of women. The Greek culture was set in the role that women should take and it was rarely violated. Women were expected to take the submissive role and never question a superior male. Their voice was rarely heard and their opinions were insignificannot

, especially in society. As far as marriage went, women must buy their husbands with a dowry and it was necessary fro them to remain married, even if it was a bad marriage. Divorce was illegal for women, while a man could remarry if he chose to do so. This defiance



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