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Monday, 5 May 2014

Was Medea rational and moral to kill her children (whom she loved) to have her revenge on her husband Jason?


MEDEA
      Oh Zeus, and Justice, child of Zeus,
      and flaming Helios—now, my friends,
      we'll triumph over all my enemies.                                               910
      The plans I've made have been set in motion.
      I'm confident my enemies will pay,
      they'll get their punishment. For at the point
      when I was most in trouble, this man came
      and helped me plan safe harbour for myself.
      I'll lash my ship's cable to Aegeus,                                                       [770]
      once I've made it to Athena's city.
      Now I'll tell you all the things I'm planning—
      though you'll get little pleasure from my words.
      I'm going to send one of my household slaves                              920
      to ask Jason to come and visit me.
      Once he's here, my words will reassure him.
      I'll tell him I agree with what he's doing,
      that leaving me for this royal alliance
      is a fine idea—he's acted properly
      and made the right decisions. Then I'll ask                                          [780]
      if my children can remain. My purpose
      is not to leave them in a hostile land
      surrounded by insulting enemies,
      but a trick to kill the daughter of the king.                                   930
      For I'll send the children to her with gifts.
      They'll carry presents for the bride, as if
      requesting to be spared their banishment—
      a finely woven robe and a tiara
      of twisted gold. If she accepts those presents
      and puts them on, she'll die—and painfully.
      And so will anyone touching the girl.
      I've smeared strong poisons on those gifts.
      So much for that. I'll say no more about her.                                       [790]
      But the next thing I'll do fills me with pain—                              940
      I'm going to kill my children. There's no one
      can save them now. And when I've done this,
      wiped out Jason's house completely, I'll leave,
      evading the punishment I'd receive
      for murdering my darling children,
      a sacrilegious crime. You see, my friends,
      I won't accept my enemies' contempt.
      So be it. What good does life hold for me now?
      I have no father, no home, no refuge.
      I was wrong to leave my father's house,                                       950    [800]
      won over by the words of that Greek man,
      who now, with the gods' help, will pay the price.
      He'll never see his children alive again,
      the ones I bore him, nor have more children
      with his new bride, for she's been marked to die
      an agonizing death, poisoned by my drugs.
      Let no one think that I'm a trivial woman,
      a feeble one who sits there passively.
      No, I'm a different sort—dangerous
      to enemies, but well disposed to friends.                                      960
      Lives like mine achieve the greatest glory.       


Let us assume we all have children to gain a kind of quasi immortality. 

Because she did what she did, we know who she is. 

If she had gone into exile meekly and without a fuss, we wouldn't be talking about her now, even if her sons went on to do very well for themselves through becoming kings who ruled their kingdoms fairly and well, or even going on to become great conquerors.  

It is through killing her sons that she achieved immortality.

Wouldn't a feminist agree with this line of reasoning?  

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