Euripides: Medea

Discussion Questions

Week of October 25 - 29
Some Halloween reading for you!

Reading Assignment: Textbook, pages 640 - 672 (Before you read this, read the "Introductory" page on the link below to get the background myth from which this play evolves.)

All written assignments due on Monday, November 8.

Online Assignment: Go to the Medea page: read the "Introductory" page which summarizes the legends behind the Medea story, including Jason and the Argonauts.

Then choose an essay from either the "Women in a Man's World" page or the articles section of the Teaching Euripides' Medea page and write a short summary/reaction paragraph. Then navigate back to the Medea page above and play the Medea Game just for fun!

Go to the discussion board and post some commentary--at least five sentences--about the PBS video on the Phoenicians. If you did not see the video, come by room 104 to borrow the tape.

Long Composition Assignment: Choose one of the following essays and write a 500ish word essay response. Be sure to quote the text to support your thesis.

1. Though Euripides is now considered the most feministic of the ancient Greek playwrights, Aristophanes' play "The Assembly Women" has women bring him to court, claiming that he "loads us with every kind of indignity," styling women "adulterous, lecherous, bibulous, treacherous, and garrulous" and making them "all vice . . . the curse of our husbands." How does Medea give fuel both to those who argue for Euripides' empowerment of women and those who accuse him of misogyny?

2. Consider the female characters we have met in the biblical and classical literature so far: Eve, the harlot in Gilgamesh, Cassandra, Helen of Troy, Clytemnestra, Jocasta. What does Euripides add to this pantheon of female characters? Has he deepened our understanding of women? Has he compounded our ignorance? What does his characterization of Medea suggest about the role of women throughout real and fictional history?

3. Who is a modern-day Medea in your eyes? Keeping in mind that Medea is not a one-dimensional character (you should not see her as purely evil), choose a contemporary woman who reflects some of the complexity of Medea and justify your choice. Draw parallels between Medea's experience and that of today's counterpart.