Comparison Of Medea And Clytemnestra, Euripides's Medea And Aeschylus's Agamemnon

1234 words - 5 pages

Tragic heroes from Greek tragedies almost always share similar characteristics. Medea from Euripides's play Medea and Clytemnestra from Aeschylus's play Agamemnon display and share tragic traits. They are both vengeful wives who share similarities in the cause of their vengeance but have some differences in their chosen means of revenge; as a result of successfully exacting their revenge both Clytemnestra and Medea cause their own downfall.Both Medea and Clytemnestra seek to hurt their husbands for betraying them. Medea uses the best source of revenge ever. She uses Jason's own children against him. For her own pride, not to look like a fool in front of anybody, Medea kills King Creon's ...view middle of the document...

.. I stand where I struck, over the finished work" (Agamemnon 157). Clytemnestra firmly believes her actions are ethical and fair. Standing before the Chorus, she strongly adheres to her beliefs that she was justified in killing Agamemnon. The Elders are torn between devotion to their king and the moral issues and defense Clytemnestra passionately presents before them. The entire Trojan War was based on a superfluous act of hatred and vengefulness, spawned from the seduction of Helen. The audience can only feel sympathy for a broken hearted mother whose rage drove her to kill her husband and his concubine. It is not Agamemnon's unfaithfulness that has spawned Clytemnestra's hatred for her husband, but rather "a mother's love for a daughter, and a wife's determination to avenge that death by killing her husband" (Agamemnon 252). Clytemnestra and Medea both feel that death is the only justifiable action for what their husbands have done. The difference is that Medea does not kill her husband, instead wants him to feel the pain of the death that surrounds him. Both Clytemnestra and Medea use words to set up their victims but they do not carry out the sentences entirely in the same way. Clytemnestra mostly uses brute force where Medea uses her knowledge of poison to do the major damage. In the end though, Medea does use brute force to kill her children.After getting her revenge Medea seems triumphant but Euripides and Medea herself suggest that she suffers worse than Jason. Medea's life becomes miserable after she kills her own children and when she realizes she will never know love again. Medea realizes that she has done something wrong by acknowledging that she is going to feel the anguish over the death of her sons. She says "then forever you may mourn; for though you will kill them, they were very dear to you" showing that she is sad that she is going to kill them (Medea 576). She realizes that she does a terrible thing and will remember it forever as she "will bring myself to Hera's temple" (Medea 1021.) She is also devastated after being exiled from her home city. Her pain and suffering are made known when she says, "But I.....but this is an unexpected blow which has befallen me and has broken my heart" (Medea 876).Medea's regret contrasts her to Clytemnestra who feels no regret even up to the time of...

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