Greek Stereotypes In Medea

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Ancient Greeks had a deep suspicion of foreigners, thinking of them all as "barbarians." With Medea, Euripides seems to confront this prejudice by choosing to honor a foreigner with the role of tragic heroine and by making her the most intelligent character in the play. However, the playwright also confirms many Greek stereotypes of foreigners by making Medea wild, overly passionate, and vengeful. When Medea was explaining her intention of killing the royals to the Chorus she said, "I have no city, and I'm being abused by my own husband. I was carried off, a trophy from a barbarian country. I have no mother, brother, or relation, to shelter with in this extremity. And so I want to ask something from you. If I find some way to punish Jason for these injustices, and his bride, as well, and father, too, say nothing", (page 9). Here Medea uses her status as a foreigner to appeal to…show more content…
It works pretty well, too. Medea manages to convince these Corinthian women to stand idly by while she assassinates their royal family. The chorus of Corinthian wives accepts this argument and promise to help Medea achieve vengeance, swayed by the idea that they too could have been in her place. Despite the monstrosity of Medea’s plans, her foreignness succeeds in evoking sympathy for her. After the killing when Jason confronts Medea he says, "No woman from Greece would dare to do this ... You're not a woman. You're a she-lion. Your nature is more bestial than Scylla, the Tuscan monster", (page 44). His statement about no Greek woman daring to do that implys that Medea did what she did because she is a barbarian and uncivilised unlike a Greek woman.Jason reveals his Greek prejudice to outsiders with this statement. Which is pretty understandable in this situation, since Medea has just slaughtered four people, including her own children. Obviously, the play didn't go a long way toward changing Athenians' opinions of

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