Justice In Medea And Antigone

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In Sophocles’ Antigone, and in Euripides’ Medea, the Greek authors take on the topic of justice. Each playwright address the issue of injustices suffered by women and the concept of natural law. In both tragedies, the female leads seek justice after unwritten laws had been broken, but they ultimately break the natural law themselves, resulting in more injustice. During Medea 's first long speech (lines 213-261), she declares that women are stricken with the most "wretched" existence on earth. Within this speech, Euripides draws attention to many of the injustices women underwent in ancient Athens. He refers particularly to their dependence on marriage and their absence of a public life. Women experienced the uncertainty of their own futures…show more content…
Though Euripides and Sophocles uses their characters to display the injustice towards women, the characters themselves struggle for their own concepts of justice within their plays. Both Antigone and Medea struggle to find balance between justice and the natural law. Natural law is the idea of a moral code that is vital to what makes us human. This is tested in the Medea when characters make choices opposing their nature. Jason, a husband, deserts his wife, and when Medea, a mother, murders her children. Even as a form of justice, Medea 's decision to kill her children is a violation against natural law. In Antigone, the violation of natural law occurs when King Creon does not allow a proper burial of Polyneices. Antigone argues against Creon 's authority and stating…show more content…
On the other hand, Medea also struggles with balancing natural law and justice. The purpose of justice in the Medea is to restore the natural balance tipped by Jason 's betrayal of his marriage vows to Medea. Creon is also guilty of injustice. It is unjust for him to give his daughter to Jason in marriage, then punish Medea for his own violation of the natural order. Then, out of fear, he justifies his action by suggesting that Medea might harm himself and his daughter. He is ultimately correct, when Medea causes the death of both Creon and the princess, but it does not make the original decision just. After the deaths of the king and his daughter, Medea feels that her justice will not be completed until Jason is punished as well. In seeking this justice, Medea performs the most violent act against natural law by killing her own children. By committing action the idea of justice becomes more problematic. Medea 's attempt to seek justice leads to a deeper injustice, and the conflicts of justice and natural law is revealed to be unattainable. Thus, even as Euripides identifies the injustice of gender roles, he also declines to blame external forces for all displays of evil actions. Ultimately it was Medea’s choice to kill her children but Euripides shows that striving for social injustice can become an excuse for the loss of
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