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Medea is very vengeful and violent
Character’s Role: The play’s tragic hero; she is angry and vengeful; she is more worried about vengeance than her own happiness and health; as the protagonist, Medea’s character gives the reader an opportunity to explore the motivations of someone who would kill their own children.
Strength: Cleverness – her ability to put together this entire plan in mere hours and deceive multiple people
Weakness (her tragic flaw): Desire for revenge – it drives her to her own demise (she has nothing left at the end of the play)
Defining Moment: When she kills her own children -
It becomes evident that her desire for vengeance is strong enough that she will do anything
Essential Question for Character: Why is vengeance so important to you?
Important Quotation: “They died from a disease they caught from their father,” (44).
She truly believes that she has done what she needed to do and has little remorse for her actions.
Jason is a shallow person, and does not care about others
Character’s Role: The play’s antagonist; he begins Medea’s search for vengeance by leaving her for another woman; he is selfish and foolish
Strength: Power- he is friends with many powerful people and has a lot of influence
Weakness: Foolishness- Medea is easily able to deceive him
Defining Moment: He faces Medea and tells her that he left her for the good of the whole family, so that they could all become more powerful and wealthy – this tells the reader that he believes it is acceptable to leave his wife
Essential Question for Character: Do you truly believe that leaving your family was in their best interests?
Important Quotation: “Have you only just discovered that everyone loves himself more than his neighbor?” (4). This is a statement of Jason’s motivations.
He is worried about himself and not about others
The Chorus is very wise, and understands the other characters very well
Character’s Role: They serve as a conscience for the characters of the play.
They clearly state many of the themes of the play, and help the reader to answer questions that arise during the piece.
Strength: Understanding of the situation – they understand character’s motivations and what is happening
Weakness: Inability or unwillingness to do anything about the situation – they never actually step in to try to change anything
Defining Moment: Their negative reaction when Medea first says that she plans to kill her children – the reader sees them be her conscience
Essential Question for Character: Why didn’t you try to help Medea’s children while she was murdering them?
Important Quotation: “When love is in excess it brings a man no honor nor any worthiness.
But if in moderation Cypris comes, there is no other power at all so gracious” (20).
This is a clear statement of the theme of moderation in the piece.
Creon is a very caring person
Character’s Role: the king of Corinth; he decides to banish Medea; dies because of his love for his daughter (throws himself on her body, thus poisoning himself)
Strength: Caring nature – he is one of the few characters in the piece that shows that he considers others more than himself; this probably helped him to attain his power and allies, and live a happy life with his family
Weakness: Caring nature – his caring nature is also what causes his death in this play; He is convinced to allow Medea one more day in Corinth, and she is able to kill him and his daughter
Defining Moment: He throws himself on his daughter’s dead body – this shows his love for his daughter
Essential Question for Character: Can caring for others actually cause more pain and punishment than selfishness?
Important Quotation: “There is nothing tyrannical about my nature, and by showing mercy I have often been the loser.
Even now I know that I am making a mistake.
All the same you shall have your will” (12).
This quotation explains his nature very well; he desires to help others.
Medea and Jason’s two very young sons serve as symbols of the suffering of the innocent.
They have done nothing, and yet are murdered by their own mother
Aegeus is the King of Athens.
He provides Medea with an opportunity to escape from Corinth, but does not realize what she plans to do.
Medea’s nurse/servant is with Medea for a large portion of the play.
The Nurse is very loyal to Medea.
“If one is a good servant, it’s a terrible thing when one’s master’s luck is out; it goes to one’s heat.
So I myself have got into such a state of grief that a longing stole over me to come outside here and tell the earth and air of my mistress’ sorrows” (3).
The Tutor acts as a babysitter or nanny to Medea’s children.
He is almost always found with the children.
The messenger only appears one time during the play, and it is to report to Medea what has happened in the palace.
The messenger allows the reader to know what has happened without leaving the single setting.
She never appears in the play, but she has an important role.
She also serves as a symbol of the suffering of the innocent.
She did not betray Medea, and she still dies a painful death from poison.
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