Machina In Medea

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Deus ex machina can be defined as a person or object that materializes or is presented unexpectedly and abruptly and offers a forced elucidation to an apparently enigmatic difficulty. (Site) In Euripides’s Medea, deus ex machina arises on two separate occasions. The first was with the unforeseen entrance of Aegeus, king of Athens, who entered from the left just as Medea was giving up hope on her plan for retribution. The second is at the end of the play, when Medea needed a way out of Corinth, so her grandfather Helios sent a golden chariot to retrieve her. Aegeus’s entrance is a catalyst for the rest of the play to move forward. His appearance is an indirect cause of the final chariot scene. Medea is used as a pawn by the gods throughout…show more content…
The reason for the entrance is to emphasize the unexpectedness of Aegeus’s entry. Euripides wanted to grant Medea a chance to escape once she carried out her revenge, so he brought in Aegeus for this sole purpose. He emphasizes the entry of Aegeus because it is not only what will move the play forward, but also because it can be regarded as an act of intervention by the gods. Since Zeus plans on using Medea to extract revenge on Jason for breaking an oath, he must send Medea a way to escape once she has carried out her task. Before his entrance, Medea was panicked. After an argument with Jason she was feeling despondent, as her revenge plan seemed impossible to fulfill. Since deus ex machina is the entrance of a person or thing that provides a means to solve a seemingly impossible problem, Aegeus is an impeccable exemplar. Aegeus is the king of Athens, a very influential man who has the authority to grant asylum upon a person. With this knowledge in mind, Medea begs Auegeus to “have pity on [her]…” (p. 33) and to not “let [her] go deserted into exile…” (p. 33) Medea then promises Aegeus that she will “cure [his childlessness” (p. 33) and have the gods grant Aegeus a child. For this reason, Aegeus agrees to let Medea abscond to Athens later in the play, as long as she has her own…show more content…
As is stated throughout the play, “Zeus/[is] the caretaker of oaths for the human race…” (p. 10) which means that it is his job to hurt Jason and those who have broken oaths. Yet, Zeus seems to use Medea as a pawn as well, since he allows her to smite those that have wronged and in return allows her to be saved since it is the least that can be done for someone who has suffered so much at the hands of the gods. When viewing the chariot as remuneration by Zeus, the fact that Aegeus came to Corinth and met Medea at the exact time she needed him can also be viewed as such. As the story goes, Aphrodite charmed Medea into loving Jason, and it is for that reason that she suffered so many hardships. If the events of deus ex machine in the play are observed from the view that they are truly the god’s way of using and helping Medea, then that can be justified. The gods send Aegeus, since no other reason is available for why he would show up at the exact time needed. They send him so that Medea can take revenge on those who not only wronged her, but the gods. This eliminates a problem for the gods, so they allow Medea to commit the crime of murder. They know that Aegeus has power as the king of Athens and will be able to protect Medea even after she commits such heinous crimes. After causing Medea even more misfortune, the gods
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