Echoes of Identity: Reflections of Medea in Euripides' Bacchae

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Echoes of Identity: Reflections of Medea in Euripides' Bacchae

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In Euripides’ Medea, one of his earliest surviving plays, we are faced with an unusual titular character. Medea is an extraordinarily powerful woman. Before her marriage to Jason, she had enabled him to reach heroic status through obtaining the Golden Fleece by her ruthless use of magical force. Despite this help which he received from her, Jason decides to divorce Medea, a barbarian woman, in favor of the princess of Corinth. The action of the play opens with Medea deciding what to do given this situation. As the plot unfolds, Medea takes on multiple roles. She starts as a victim of Jason’s abandonment. She then begins plotting vengeance upon him, and her initial plan includes murdering his future bride to get herself even with Jason. When she adds filicide into her revenge plot, Medea transgresses ordinary human boundaries and becomes a fiend. At the same time, however, she once again becomes a victim, but this time Medea is a victim of herself rather than of another. Medea’s personality is thus split, and her character contains contradictory elements both sequentially and simultaneously.


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Tallarini, Amelia. (2023). Echoes of Identity: Reflections of Medea in Euripides' Bacchae. Retrieved from the University Digital Conservancy,

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