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Conflict of the Sexes in Play “Medea” by Euripides Essay


Euripides created one of the most marvelous plays in the world literature. He managed to reveal the conflict of the sexes. He managed to depict the eternal conflict that has not yet been resolved. Thus, Euripides managed to depict women’s aspirations.

His Medea seeks for respect and love on the part of the man she loves. Medea sacrificed her own family and her people to follow her beloved and she feels betrayed: “I have no mother, brother, or relation, / to shelter with in this extremity” (Euripides lines 298-299.).

She cannot stand Jason’s disrespect. She cannot forgive his being so ungrateful and indifferent. The only thing she wants most of all is revenge:

…In other things a woman may be timid… but when she’s hurt in love, her marriage violated, there’s no heart more desperate for blood than hers. (Euripides lines 303-307)

Medea wants to hurt the man who made her suffer. She refuses to live in the world where men can do anything they want to, whereas women should only obey. The woman is determined to destroy the wretched man who dared to abuse her.

However, it is impossible to state that Medea is led by rage and hatred only. The poor woman is trying to resolve her own conflict. She has to do a dreadful thing which makes her suffer greatly: “But next thing I’ll do fills me with pain – / I’m going to kill my children…” (Euripides lines 940-941).

The woman loves her children but she cannot let her abusers escape from punishment. Medea understands that her children will never be safe as they will be haunted since their mother killed the rulers of the powerful state: “There’s no one / can save them now” (Euripides line 941-942). She understands that the only way for them to escape from a horrible death is to kill them painlessly.

When it comes to Jason, the only thing he wants is to gain power and respect in his country:

The most important thing for us to do is to live well and not in poverty, knowing that everyone avoids a friend once he’s a pauper… (Euripides lines 664-667)

He is not content with what he has. As any other man he wants to gain more power. He wants to be respected by others. He is not so much concerned with his family he is more concerned with his prosperity and his position in the society.

Admittedly, Jason cannot understand his wife who wants to save her family. Jason thinks Medea is simply jealous. He thinks that she simply does not want to share him with another woman:

But you women are so idiotic – you think if everything is fine in bed, you have all you need, but if the sex is bad, then all the very best and finest things you make your enemies. (Euripides lines 677-680)

Jason thinks that Medea is also afraid of living in poverty. He tries to ensure her that he will give her money and all she needs. The man cannot understand that things (gold, clothes, etc.) mean nothing to a woman if her family is being destroyed.

Jason thinks Medea is hysterical as all women are. He cannot also understand why Medea (as well as any other woman) objects to such reasonable arguments he provided. Thus, Jason’s biggest mistake is that he thinks Medea simply wants to remain his only wife. He also underestimates his wife and has to pay a horrible price for his mistake.

Works Cited

Euripides. Medea. Vancouver Island University, n.d. Web. <>

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IvyPanda. (2019, June 19). Conflict of the Sexes in Play "Medea" by Euripides. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/medea-2/

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"Conflict of the Sexes in Play "Medea" by Euripides." IvyPanda, 19 June 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/medea-2/.

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IvyPanda. "Conflict of the Sexes in Play "Medea" by Euripides." June 19, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/medea-2/.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Conflict of the Sexes in Play "Medea" by Euripides." June 19, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/medea-2/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Conflict of the Sexes in Play "Medea" by Euripides'. 19 June.

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