Medea And The Mercy Seat: A Comparative Analysis

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Euripides’s Medea and Neil LaBute’s The Mercy Seat share many similarities. Both stories are wrapped around the marital problems of their main characters, with Medea scheming against Jason for abandoning her and with Ben trying to smooth out his complicated affair with his mistress, Abby, after he fails to break things off with his wife in the wake of 9/11. Both stories also ground themselves heavily in rhetorical language, as both characters find themselves in situations that require convincing arguments to make their ways out of. It would appear that, with these similarities, Medea and The Mercy Seat are deeply alike. However, despite these exterior resemblances, Medea and The Mercy Seat actually differ greatly at a fundamental level. While both plays revolve…show more content…
In Medea, the particulars of Medea’s revenge make up the plot, so it comes as no surprise that the play’s ending revolves entirely around said revenge and its effects on Jason and Medea. In The Mercy Seat, the plot is made up of the moral quandaries that arise as Ben and Abby dive deeper into the psychology of their affair, and to reflect this, the play’s ending leaves many questions unanswered and gives the audience members room to interpret things on their own. Having the endings embody the plays themselves drives home for the final time the plays’ individuality, and provides one final example of how these two similar stories are, in the end, more different than they appear. In conclusion, while Medea and The Mercy Seat appear to be heavily similar at first blush, their various idiosyncrasies help add depth to their stories and define them as their own plays, distinct from each other. They both carry with them unique aspects of the time periods they were written in and have characters with their own quirks and ideologies, and it is these aspects that make the plays more than just rhetorically-similar plays about relationship
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